July 12, 2009

Gerald Hamstra on the Tears of Jesus

What is the significance of these tears of Jesus? Certain theologians have taught that they were of little value as they were but human tears. It is true that Jesus wept only in his human nature, for God cannot weep. We may indeed distinguish between the two natures of Christ, but we may never separate the one from the other. He possessed two natures; however, he was only one person. Furthermore, these tears have a rich significance for they were Messianic tears. Christ was the Messiah. As such he reveals who God is. He gives us a precious view of what lives in the heart of God. Without Christ, these secrets would have remained hidden for ever.

The sinless Saviour was fully in agreement with the Father's justice in punishing the impenitent. Likewise, he believed in the sovereignty of God, as is evident from his own words, especially those recorded in Matthew 11 verse 25: 'I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and the prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes'. Yet the Saviour's tears reveal the sacred inner emotions of his sorrow. It is a sorrow that can never be measured. How strong was ever his desire that sinners would be saved! Was not the design of his entire ministry? Did he not spend all his time and energy for that purpose? Indeed, in life and death, he sought as no other has ever done, the honour of his Father and the salvation of the lost.

Are not his utterances as recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew a commentary on these tears of Jesus? See him exclaim, 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!'.

Ah, what a tenderness is here! How fervently the Saviour longs for the salvation of the lost! If only the unconverted sinner could know how rich a love dwells in the heart of our precious Redeemer! He understands the plight of the sinner as no one else. His gracious warnings are a proof of this; no less so are his tears. They cry out to the sinner: 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live' (Ezek. 33:11).
Gerald Hamstra, "Jesus Weeping over the Holy City," Banner of Truth 385 (October 1995): 26.

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