And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,…
I. First, we are to contemplate OUR LORD'S INWARD GRIEF.
1. We note concerning it that it was so intense that it could not be restrained by the occasion. The occasion was one entirely by itself: a brief gleam of sunlight in a cloudy day, a glimpse of summer amid a cruel winter. That must have been deep grief which ran counter to all the demands of the season, and violated, as it were, all the decorum of the occasion, turning a festival into a mourning, a triumph into a lament.
2. The greatness of His grief may be seen, again, by the fact that it overmastered other very natural feelings which might have been, and perhaps were, excited by the occasion. Our Lord stood on the brow of the hill where He could see Jerusalem before Him in all its beauty. What thoughts it awakened in Him! His memory was stronger and quicker than ours, for His mental powers were unimpaired by sin, and He could remember all the great and glorious things which had been spoken of Zion, the city of God. Yet, as He remembered them all, no joy came into His soul because of the victories of David or the pomp of Solomon; temple and tower had lost all charm for Him; "the joy of the earth" brought no joy to Him, but at the sight of the venerable city and its holy and beautiful house He wept.
3. This great sorrow of His reveals to us the nature of our Lord. How complex is the person of Christ! He foresaw that the city would be destroyed, and though He was divine He wept. While His nature on the one side of it sees the certainty of the doom, the same nature from another side laments the dread necessity.
4. In this our Lord reveals the very heart of God. Did He not say, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father"? Here, then, you see the Father Himself, even he who said of old, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn," etc.
5. From a practical lesson, we may remark that this weeping of the Saviour should much encourage men to trust Him. Those who desire His salvation may approach Him without hesitation, for His tears prove His hearty desires for our good.
6. This, too, I think is an admonishment to Christian workers. Never let us speak of the doom of the wicked harshly, flippantly or without holy grief.
7. Let me add that I think the lament of Jesus should instruct all those who would now come to Him as to the manner of their approach. While I appealed to you just now were there any.who said, "I would fain come to Jesus, but how shall I come"? The answer is, — come with sorrow and with prayer, even as it is written, "they shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them." As Jesus meets you so meet Him.
III. We are now to consider our LORD'S VERBAL LAMENTATIONS. These are recorded in the following words: "Oh that thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes."
1. First, notice, he laments over the fault by which they perished — "Oh that thou hadst known." Ignorance, wilful ignorance, was their ruin.
2. The Lord laments the bliss which they had lost, the peace which could not be theirs. "Oh that thou hadst known the things that belong unto thy peace."
3. But our Lord also lamented over the persons who had lost peace. Observe that He says, — "Oh that thou hadst known, even thou. Thou art Jerusalem, the favoured city. It is little that Egypt did not know, that Tyre and Sidon did not know, but that thou shouldst not know!" Ah, friends, if Jesus were here this morning, He might weep over some of you and say — "Oh that thou hadst known, even thou."
4. Our Lord wept because of the opportunity which they had neglected. He said, " At least in this thy day." It was such a favoured day: they aforetime had been warned by holy men, but now they had the Son of God Himself to preach to them.
5. The Lord Jesus mourned again because He saw the blindness which had stolen over them. They had shut their eyes so fast that now they could not see: their ears which they had stopped had become dull and heavy; their hearts which they had hardened had waxen gross; so that they could not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor feel in their hearts, nor be converted that He should heal them. Why, the truth was as plain as the sun in the heavens, and yet they could not see it; and so is the gospel at this hour to many of you, and yet you perceive it not.
6. Lastly, we know that the great flood-gates of Christ's grief were pulled up because of the ruin which He foresaw.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,