And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,…
We have here, not only weeping but tearful lamentation, weeping accompanied with voice and words; and the weeper is the God-man, Christ Jesus. Eternal Deity is not an unfeeling Almightiness. He has a heart, and that heart can be touched, and grieved, and moved with compassion, and stirred with emotions.
I. GOD INTENDS GREAT THINGS FOR THOSE TO WHOM HE HAS GIVEN HIS WORD AND ORDINANCES. He had chosen Jerusalem, and set up His temple there, and made it the centre of His most particular dealings with the elect nation, that it might reflect His glory, show forth His praises, and be the crown and rejoicing of the whole earth. The thing meant to be reached and made the everlasting possession of its people, is here summed up by the Saviour in the word "peace; not mere rest from disturbance and strife; nor yet only health and well-being, as the word often denotes in the Old Testament; but that which is the subject of Divine promise, the highest results of God's mercy and favour, the true Messianic blessing of everlasting freedom from the distresses and consequences of sin, and exaltation to near and holy relationship with God and heaven. And great things are meant for us, even the same things of "peace" which pertained at first to the ancient Jerusalem.
II. THERE IS A DAY OR SEASON WHEREIN TO KNOW AND ATTEND TO THE THINGS THAT RESPECT THIS "PEACE." And unto us have their forfeited privileges now descended. This is our day, beaming with all the light and blessings which once belonged to the Jews, only marked by an easier ritual and a better economy (Hebrews 12:18-24).
III. THE DAY OF GRACE HAS ITS BOUNDARIES OVER WHICH GOD'S SAVING MERCIES DO NOT FOLLOW THOSE WHO MISIMPROVE THEM. There was a Jewish age which ended in judgment, and the cutting off of those who failed to improve it; and so this present age must also end. The day of grace is limited, on the one side, by the lateness of the period in life at which the gospel comes to a man, and, on the other, by the failure of the faculties necessary to handle and use it. It is also quite possible for one's day of grace to terminate while yet both reason and life continue. There may be a loss of the external means and opportunities of salvation, or such a separation from them, as for ever to prevent our reaching it. And where there has been long and persistent resistance of grace, habitual suppression of religious convictions and feelings, wilful refusal to fulfil known duty, and persevering withstanding of the influences and impulses of the Spirit of God, there is not only a possibility, but great danger of bringing on a state of callous indifference, and incapacitation which puts the offender beyond the reach of salvation.
IV. THE TERMINATION OF THE DAY OF GRACE, WITHOUT HAVING SECURED THE BLESSING FOR WHICH IT WAS INTENDED, IS AN AWFUL CALAMITY. In the case of Jerusalem it brought tears and lamentations from the Son of God.
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,