Sermon 2091. "Jesus Wept"
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JUNE 23, 1889,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLES NEWINGTON.
"Jesus wept." John 11:35.
A GREAT storm was stirring the mind of Jesus. We find, on looking at the original, that He was indignant and troubled. Wehave a very literal translation in the margin of the Revised Version. And instead of reading, "He groaned in the spirit andwas troubled," we find it, "He was moved with indignation in the spirit and troubled Himself." What was this indignation?We cannot think that it was caused by the unbelief of His friends, or even by the pretended sympathy of those malicious Jewswho hastened to accuse Him to the Pharisees.
But we look further and deeper for the reason of this heat. He now stood face to face with the last enemy, death. He saw whatsin had done in destroying life and even in corrupting the fair handiwork of God in the human body. He marked, also, the sharewhich Satan had in all this and His indignation was aroused. Yes, His whole nature was stirred. Some read it, "He roused Himself,"instead of reading, as we have it in our version, "He was troubled." Certainly, there would seem to be an active sense inthe expression-it was not so much that He was troubled, as that "He troubled Himself."
The waters of His soul were clear as crystal, and therefore when troubled, they were not muddied. Yet they were all stirred.It could be seen that His holy Nature was in a ferment and an inarticulate expression of distress fell from Him. Between indignationat the powers of evil, grief for the family who had been bereaved by death, sorrow over those who stood by in unbelief anda distressing realization of the effects of sin, the Lord's heart was evidently in a great storm.
Instead of the thunder of threat and the lightning of a curse, all that was perceptible of the inward tempest was a showerof tears. For "Jesus wept." A hurricane rushed through His spirit. All the forces of His soul were disturbed. He shudderedat the sight which was about to be set before Him. He was thrilled from head to foot with emotion. Yet the result of the stormwas not a word of terror, nor a glance of judgment but simply a blessed shower of tears-"Jesus wept." If all our righteousindignation displayed itself in tears of pity, we should have fulfilled the text, "Be you angry and sin not."
"Jesus wept." I have often felt vexed with the man, whoever he was, who chopped up the New Testament into verses. He seemsto have let the hatchet drop indiscriminately here and there. But I forgive him a great deal of blundering for his wisdomin letting these two words make a verse by themselves-"Jesus wept." This is a diamond of the first water and it cannot haveanother gem set with it, for it is unique. Shortest of verses in words but where is there a longer one in sense? Add a wordto the verse and it would be out of place. No, let it stand in solitary sublimity and simplicity. You may even put a noteof exclamation after it and let it stand in capitals, "JESUS WEPT!"
There is infinitely more in these two words than any sermonizer, or student of the Word, will ever be able to bring out ofthem, even though he should apply the microscope of the most attentive consideration. "Jesus wept." Instructive fact-simplebut amazing-full of consolation-worthy of our earnest heed. Come, Holy Spirit and help us to discover for ourselves the wealthof meaning contained in these two words!
We read of other men that they wept. Abraham, when he buried Sarah, wept. Jacob had power with the angel, for he wept andprevailed. Of David we are continually reading that he wept. His friend Jonathan and he once wept together and were not unmannedbut were the more truly men for weeping. Of Hezekiah we read that he wept sorely and of Josiah that he poured forth tearsover the sins of Judah. Jeremiah was a weeping Prophet. And I might continue the list, but if I did, it would not be at allremarkable that the sons of a fallen father should weep. With all the sin and sorrow that surrounds our manhood, it is nomarvel that it should be said of any man, "He wept."
The earth brings forth thorns and thistles and the heart brings forth sorrow and sighing. Is there a man or woman here whohas not wept? Have we not all, sometimes, felt a sweet relief in tears? Looking round upon this great assembly, I could pointto you, one by one, and say, "He wept and he wept. And she wept and she wept." And none would wonder that such has been thecase. The marvel is that the sinless Son of God should, in the days of His flesh, know the meaning of strong crying and tears.The fact worthy to be noticed and recorded is that "Jesus wept." On that subject we shall meditate this morning. And may theLord make our thoughts profitable!
First, I would remind you that "Jesus wept," Because He was truly man. Secondly, "Jesus wept," for He was not ashamed of Hishuman weakness, but allowed Himself to reveal the fact that He was, in this point also, made like unto His Brethren. Thirdly,"Jesus wept," and therein He is our Instructor. Fourthly, He is our Comforter. And lastly, He is our Example. We can onlygive a little space to each of these five things.
I. First, "Jesus wept," for HE IS TRULY MAN. Many facts prove the completeness of our Lord's taking up of our nature. Notin phantasm, nor in fiction was Jesus a man. But in reality and truth He became one of us. He was born of a woman, wrappedin swaddling bands, fed from the breast. He grew as a child, was obedient to His parents and increased in stature and in wisdom.In manhood He worked, He walked, He wearied. He ate as we do-we find it mentioned that He fasted and that He hungered.
After His resurrection He ate a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb, to show that His body was real. His human naturewas sustained, as ours is, by supplying it with food. Though on one occasion, sustained by Divine power, He fasted forty daysand forty nights-yet as man He ordinarily needed food. He drank also and gave thanks both for food and drink. We find Himsleeping with His head upon a pillow and resting upon the curb of the well of Sychar. He suffered all the innocent infirmitiesof our nature. He was hungry and was disappointed when, early in the morning, He came to a fig tree seeking fruit but foundnone.
He was weary-"Jesus, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well." That He thirsted we know, for He said to the Samaritanwoman, "Give Me to drink." And on the Cross He cried in burning fever, "I thirst!" In all things He was made like His Brethren."Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." His humanity was our humanity to the full, although without sin. Sinis not essential to humanity-it is a disease of nature. It is not a feature found in humanity, as though it came from theCreator's hand. The Man of men, in whom all true humanity is found in perfection, is Christ Jesus.
The fact that Jesus wept is a clear proof of this. He wept, for He had human friendships. Friendship is natural to man. Scarcelyis He a man who never had a friend to love. Men in going through the world make many acquaintances but out of these they havea few special objects of esteem whom they call friends. If they think to have many friends, they are, probably, misusing thename. All wise and good men have about them choice spirits with whom their communion is more free and in whom their trustis more confident than in all others.
Jesus delighted to find retirement in the quiet home at Bethany. And we read that, "Jesus loved Martha and her sister andLazarus." Alas, my Brethren, every friendship opens a fresh door for grief. For friends are no more immortal than ourselves."Jesus wept" at the grave of His friend just as you and I have done and must do again. Behold your Lord, like David, weepingfor His Jonathan, and see how human He is in His friendships.
"Jesus wept," for He was truly human in His sympathies. He did not merely walk about among us and look like a man but at athousand points He came into contact with us. Jesus was always in touch with sorrow. Happy are they that are in touch withHim! Our Lord saw Mary and Martha weeping and the Jews that were with her weeping and He caught the contagion of their grief-"Jesuswept." His sympathies were with sorrowing ones and for this reason, among others, He was Himself, "a Man of Sorrows, and acquaintedwith grief."
He loved first His Father in Heaven, whose glory was His main object. But He loved intensely His chosen and His sympathy withthem knew no bounds. "In all their afflictions He was afflicted." Jesus was far more tender towards humanity than any otherman has ever been. He was the great Philanthropist. Alas, man is often the most cruel foe of man. None more unkind to manthan men. Not the elements in their fury, nor wild beasts in their rage, nor diseases in their terror, have made such havocamong men as men drunk with the war spirit.
When has there been such cruel hate on the part of the most savage monster towards man as has aged in the hearts of blood-thirstywarriors? To this hate our Lord was a perfect stranger. There was no flint in His heart. He was love and
only love. And through His love He descended into the depths of grief with the beloved ones whose lot was sorrowful. And Hecarried out to the full that sacred precept, "Weep with them that weep." Jesus was no unsuffering seraph, no cherub incapableof grief, but He was bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. And therefore "Jesus wept."
He was a man, dear Friends, for He was stirred with human emotion. Every emotion that ever thrilled through your bosom, sofar as it is not sinful, has had its like in the bosom of the Lord Jesus Christ. He could be angry-we read in one place that,"He looked round about on them with anger." He could be pitiful. When was He not so? He could be moved with compassion fora fainting crowd, or with scorn of a crafty ruler. Did He not speak with great indignation of the scribes and Pharisees? Yet,was He not tender as a nurse with a child, when cheering the penitent?
He would not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. Yet He uttered faithful warnings and made terrible exposuresof hypocrisy. Our Savior, at the moment described in our text, felt indignation, pity, love, desire and other emotions. Hewho is all heart of tenderness, was stirred from head to foot. He was troubled and He troubled himself. As when water is shakenin a vial, so was His whole nature shaken with a mighty emotion, as He stood at the grave of Lazarus, confronting death andhim that has the power of it.
Our Lord proved Himself a man when it was said that "Jesus wept." Note, too, that His pure body and His sinless soul wereoriginally constituted as ours are. When His body was formed according to that Scripture, "A body have You prepared Me," thatholy thing had in it the full apparatus of grief-the tear gland was in His eyes. Where there is no sin, one would say thereshould be no sorrow. But in the formation of that blessed body, all the arrangements for the expression of grief were as fullyprepared as in the case of any one of us. His eyes were made to be fountains of tears, even as are ours. He had about Hissoul, also, all the capacity for mental grief.
As I said before, so I say again, it would seem that there should be no tears where there are no transgressions. And yet theSavior's heart was made to hold sorrow, even as an amphora was made for wine. Yes, more, His heart was made capacious enoughto be a reservoir wherein should be gathered up great floods of grief. See how the sorrow bursts forth in a mighty flood!Mark the record of that flood in these amazing words, "Jesus wept."
Beloved, have a clear faith in the humanity of Him whom you rightly worship as your Lord and your God. Holding His Divinitywithout doubt, hold His manhood without mistake. Realize the actual manhood of Jesus in all lights. Three times we read Hewept. Doubtless He sorrowed full often when He was not seen. But thrice He was known to weep. The instance in our text wasthe weeping of a Friend over the grave of a friend. A little further on, after a day of triumph, our Lord beheld the cityand wept over it-that was the weeping of a Prophet concerning judgments which He foresaw.
It is not recorded by any Evangelist, but Paul tells us, in the Epistle to Hebrews, that with strong crying and tears, Hemade appeal to Him that was able to save Him from death and was heard in that He feared. This third record sets forth theweeping of our Substitute, a sacrificial weeping, a pouring out of Himself as an oblation before God. Treasure up in yourmind these three memories, the weeping of the Friend in sympathy with bereavement, the weeping of the Judge lamenting thesentence which He must deliver and the weeping of the Surety as He smarts for us, bearing griefs which were not His own, forsins in which He had no share. Thus thrice was it true that "Jesus wept."
II. Now, let us change the line of our thought a little, while we say, "Jesus wept," that is, HE WAS NOT ASHAMED OF HIS HUMANWEAKNESS. He could have repressed His tears-many men do so habitually. I do not doubt that there may be great sorrow, verygreat sorrow, where there is no open expression of it. In fact, most of you must have felt times when grief has struck yousuch a stunning blow that you could not weep, you could not recover yourself sufficiently to shed tears-the heart was allon fire with anguish and the eyes refused the cooling drops.
The Savior could doubtless, if so He had wished, have hidden His grief. But He did not choose to do so, for He was never unnatural.As "the holy Child Jesus," He was free from pride and wore His heart where men could see it.
For, first, remember His talk when He spoke to His disciples. He never concealed His poverty. There is an idea abroad thatrespectability is maintained by the pretense of riches, whereby real need is hidden. It is thought disreputable to seem tobe poor, even when you are so. There may be something in the affectation but our Lord did not countenance such a course. ForHe said, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has not where to lay His head." Though He wasrich, yet for our sakes He became poor and He was never ashamed to let it be known that He was poor.
So, too, He was "despised and rejected of men," and He did not pretend to be unaware of it. He did not try to make out thatHe was exceedingly popular and that nobody had a word to say against Him. But He owned that they had called the Master ofthe house Beelzebub. He knew what they had called Him and He was not ashamed of being made the butt of ridicule and the targetof reproach. When they ascribed His miracles to the power of Satan He met the charges with an overwhelming reply. But He wasnot ashamed that slander had befallen Him as well as poverty.
As for His sufferings and death, how frequently do we find Him talking to His disciples about it, till Peter would have stoppedHim if he could! Our Lord spoke of His being betrayed into the hand of sinners and despitefully entreated and spat upon. Hespoke openly of His being "lifted up." He even dwelt upon the minute items of His coming passion- He had no wish to deny thefate which He knew awaited Him. Why not die and say nothing about it, if so it must be? Not so the Savior. He has become aman and He is not ashamed at that which necessarily follows as a part of His humiliation. Being found in fashion as a manHe becomes obedient to all that is required of His manhood and before all observers He takes His place in the ranks. "Jesuswept."
Jesus wept on this occasion, although it might have been misunderstood and misrepresented. Do you not think that the Jewswho stood there would sneeringly say, "See, He weeps! The miracle worker weeps! He calls Himself the Son of God and yet Hestands weeping there like any ordinary man!" Here was opportunity for scorn at His manifest weakness and even for blasphemyat the evident token of it. But our Lord did not act upon policy. He allowed His true feelings to be seen. He did not, likethe stoic, claim respect for His manhood by holding Himself within Himself and refusing to let men see that He was of likefeelings with them. No, "Jesus wept."
Tears may not be thought manly but they are natural to man and Jesus will not be unnatural. The enemies may say what theyplease, and even blaspheme both Him and His God. But He will not act a part in the hope of silencing them. He acts the truth,only, and weeps as His kind heart suggests. He thinks more of Mary and of Martha and the comfort His sympathy may yield them,than of the sneering language of unbelievers, which may forge an excuse for itself out of the loving weakness of His humanity.
"Jesus wept," and thereby He revealed His love to Lazarus, so that others saw it and cried, "Behold how He loved him!" Thisis one proof that our Lord does not hesitate to declare His love to His people. When He sojourned upon earth He was not ashamedto find friends among ordinary mortals. Our glorious Lord, now that He is enthroned, "is not ashamed to call us Brethren."He is not ashamed to be written down in the same heavenly register as His poor people. His cheeks were bedewed with tearssuch as those which drop from our eyes, and by those tears all knew what manner of love He had towards His chosen.
Blessed be His name! Many a great man might be willing to befriend a poor man with money but not with tearful love. But herethe blessed Master, in the midst of the assembled multitude, owns dead and rotting Lazarus as His friend and seals the covenantof His love with tears. "Jesus wept"-He was not ashamed to own the affliction which sin caused to His holy soul-nor the gashwhich the sight of death made in His heart. He could not bear to see the grave and its corruption. May we never think of thesin and misery of our race without sorrow!
I confess I can never go through this huge city without feeling unhappy. I never pass from end to end of London without feelinga black and dark cloud, hanging like a pall over my spirit. How my heart breaks for you, O sinful city of London! Is it notso with you, my Brethren? Think of its slums, its sins, its poverty, its ungodliness, its drunkenness, its vice! These maywell go through a man's heart like sharp swords. How Jesus would have wept in London! He could not stand in the front of alone grave, about to look upon a single corpse, without weeping.
He saw in that one death the representation of what sin has done on so enormous a scale, that it is impossible to computethe devastation. And therefore He wept. What have you not done, O Sin! You have slain all these, O Death! What a field ofblood has Satan made this earth! The Savior could not stand unmoved in the presence of the Destroyer, nor approach the gateof death's palace without deep emotion. Of this He was by no means ashamed. And therefore He did not hold back His tears-"Jesuswept."
Brethren, holy emotion is not a weakness to be ashamed of. If at any time, in the midst of the world's wickedness and gaiety,you weep, do not hide those tears! Let the thoughtless see that there is one, at least, who fears God and trembles when theHoly One is provoked.
"Jesus wept," though He was about to work a wonderful miracle. The glory of His Godhead did not make Him ashamed of His manhood.Singular thing, too, that He should weep just before the joy of raising the dead to life. He is God, for He is about to callLazarus out of the grave. But He is man just as much as ever and therefore He weeps.
Our Lord was as much man when He raised the dead as when He worked in the carpenter's shop at Nazareth. He was not ashamedto own His real manhood while He proved Himself the Resurrection and the Life. This day in the glory of Heaven He wears Hisscars, to show that, though God, He is not ashamed to be recognized as man. He makes this one of His glorious names-"I amHe that lives and was dead. And, behold, I am alive forevermore." Therein He describes His connection with our manhood inlife and in death. Beloved, "Jesus wept," to show that He did not disdain the feebleness of that nature which He had takenup, that He might redeem it unto God.
Remember that our Lord Jesus exercised three years of ministry and each year was signalized by a resurrection. He began byraising the little daughter of Jairus, upon whose unmarred countenance death had scarcely set his seal. Then He went on toraise the young man at the gates of Nain, who was being carried out to his burial, dead but not yet corrupt. And now He consummatesHis Glory by raising this Lazarus, who had been dead four days already. Yet, when He came to this crowning marvel and thusdisplayed the perfection of His Godhead, He did not disdain to stand before all and weep. Jesus is the Resurrection and theLife, yet "Jesus wept."
III. Thirdly, OUR LORD JESUS IS OUR INSTRUCTOR IN WEEPING. This is the most practical part of our discourse. Be sure thatyou receive it by the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
Observe why Jesus wept and learn a lesson from it. He wept because this was His method ofprayer on this occasion. A greatmiracle was to be worked and great power was needed from on high-as man, the Lord Jesus cries to God with intense earnestnessand finds the most fit embodiment for His prayer in weeping. No prayer will ever prevail with God more surely than a liquidpetition, which, being distilled from the heart, trickles from the eye and waters the cheek. Then is God won when He hearsthe voice of your weeping.
The angel at Peniel will slip from your dry hands. But moisten them with tears and you will hold him fast. Before the LordJesus puts forth the power which raises Lazarus from the grave, He appeals to God with strong crying and tears. The Fatherappears for His weeping Son. And you, dear Friends, if you want to win in prayer, must weep in prayer. Let your soul arouseitself to eager desire and trouble itself to anguish, and then you will prevail. "Jesus wept" to teach us how to baptize ourprayers unto God in a wave of heart grief.
"Jesus wept" again, because before He would arouse the dead He would be Himself aroused. A word of His could have worked thewonder-yes, His mere volition would have been enough. But for our instruction He did not make it so. There was a kind of evilwhich went not out but with prayer and fasting and here was a kind of death which would not yield unless the Savior groanedand wept. Without great exertion of the life of Jesus, the death in Lazarus could not be subdued. Therefore the Lord arousedHimself and stirred up all His strength, troubling all His being for the struggle on which He entered.
Learn, therefore, my Brothers and Sisters, that if you think to do any great good in saving sinners, you must not be half-asleepyourself-you must be troubled even to tears. Perhaps the most difficult thing in winning souls is to get ourselves into afit state. The dead may bury the dead but they cannot raise the dead. Until a man's whole soul is moved, he will not movehis fellow. He might, possibly, succeed with those who are willing to be impressed. But the careless will be unmoved by anyman who is unmoved himself. Tears storm a passage for warnings. If Christ's whole Self must be stirred before Lazarus is raised,we must be thrilled before we can win a soul.
The fingers of decay are unwinding the goodly fabric which once was worn by the soul of Lazarus and no voice can effectuallycommand them to pause but one which sounds forth from a bursting heart. That "stinking," of which Martha spoke, can only beturned into the sweet odors of grateful life by the salt tears of infinite love. It is still more so in our case. We mustfeel, if others are to feel. Come, my dear Sister, you that are going to the Sunday school class this afternoon, because youmust go-you must not go in that spirit. You, my Brothers, who are going to preach or talk to your classes and have as yetonly one eye open. This will never do.
Your Lord was all alive and all sensitive and you must be the same. How can you expect to see His power exercised on othersif you do not feel His emotion in yourselves? You must be quickened into tenderness as He was, or you will not receive Hislife-giving power. When I am weak, then am I strong. "Jesus wept" when He raised dead Lazarus.
Jesus wept in full knowledge of several things which might have prevented His weeping. You have sometimes thought to yourselfwhen weeping at the grave of a dear child, or wife, or husband, that you have been wrong in so doing. But this may not bethe case. Our Savior wept, though He knew that Lazarus was safe enough. I do not know what had happened to the soul of Lazarus-whereScripture is silent it is not mine to speak. But, wherever He was, He was perfectly safe. And yet "Jesus wept."
Moreover, Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus to life-his resurrection was close at hand. And yet "Jesus wept."Sometimes we are told that if we really believed that our friends would rise again and that they are safe and happy even now,we would not weep. Why not? Jesus did. There cannot be any error in following where Jesus leads the way. Jesus knew, moreover,that the death of Lazarus was for the Glory of God-He had said, "This sickness is not unto death but for the Glory of God."And yet He wept! Have we not thought, "Surely it must be wicked to weep when you know that the bereavement will glorify God"?
Not so, or else Jesus would not have wept under similar circumstances. Learn instruction-tears which else we might have regardedas contraband have now free admission into the realm of holiness, since "Jesus wept." Sister, you may weep, for Jesus wept.He wept, with full knowledge of the happiness of Lazarus, with full expectation of his resurrection and with the firm assurancethat God was glorified even by his death-we may not, therefore, condemn what Christ allows.
"Jesus wept," but He did not sin. There was not even a particle of evil in any one of the Redeemer's tears. Salt there mayhave been but not fault. Beloved, we can weep without sin. I do not suppose we have ever done so, but it is possible. It isnot a sin to weep for those whom God has taken away from us, nor for those who are suffering. I will tell you why there wasno sin in Christ's weeping-it was because He wept in His Father's presence. When He spoke in His sorrow, the first word was,"Father"-He said, "Father, I thank You." If you can weep in such a way that all the while you feel God to be your Father andcan thank Him and know that you are in His Presence, your weeping is not blameworthy but healthful.
Let such floods flow on, for Jesus wept and said, "Father, I thank You." Brethren, we sin when we either laugh or weep behindGod's back. Absence from God is the element of sin. When you cannot smile nor weep except by forgetting God and His Law, thenare you offending. But if you can get up to your great Father's bosom and bury your head there, you may sob away without shame.For that which He permits is evidently no offense.
"Jesus wept," but He never murmured. "Jesus wept," but He never found fault with God's dispensations. "Jesus wept" sweetlyin submission, not bitterly in rebellion. I think this is good instruction here-may the Holy Spirit teach it to us! May theLord write it on every weeper's heart. You, Hannah, a woman of a sorrowful spirit-did Eli accuse you? Come to Eli's Master,the great High Priest. For He will not blame you but He will tell you that you may weep, for He also wept.
IV. I must be brief upon my fourth point. "Jesus wept"-IN THIS HE IS OUR COMFORTER.
Let me speak to those who are of heavy heart. "Jesus wept"-herein is our honor. You weep, my Friend, in good company. ForJesus wept. Let no man censure you lest they not only blame you but Jesus also. "Jesus wept"-herein is our sonship vindicated.You say, "Can I be the child of God and yet go weeping?" Was not Jesus the well-beloved Son? And yet He wept. Ah, the questionlies another way-"What son is he whom the father chastens not?" What child did God ever have that did not weep? He had oneSon without sin. But He never had a son without sorrow. He had a Son that never deserved a stroke of the rod and yet againstthat Son the sword was awakened.
Mourner, you are one of "The Worshipful Company of Weepers," of whom Jesus is the Worthy Master. He is at the head of theClan of Mourners-you may well wear the plaid with the black and red crosses upon it, for your Chieftain wore the same. Seenow the real sympathy of Christ with His people, for herein is comfort. His sympathy lies not alone in words, not even whollyin deeds-it is more tender than these can be. Only His heart could express His tender sympathy and then it was by tears-tearswhich were brought up like gold from the heart, minted in the eyes and then put in circulation as current coin of the merchant,each one bearing the King's image and superscription.
Jesus is our fellow-sufferer. And this should be our greatest solace. Oh, if we had a High Priest that knew not what it isto suffer as we do, it would be a most unhappy thing for us! If we fled to Him for refuge and found that He had known no griefand consequently could not understand us, it would be killing to a broken heart. I saw a young bird yesterday fly
where he thought he saw ready entrance. But, alas for him! There was an invisible barrier. He dashed against the glass andstunned himself and I was sad when I saw him lie dead outside my window.
If in my grief I fled to Jesus and there was about Him a secret inability to sympathize, an incapacity to admit me to Hisheart-pure as crystal though that barrier might be-I should dash myself against it and die in despair. A Jesus who never weptcould never wipe away my tears. That were a grief I could not bear, if He could not have fellowship with me and could notunderstand my woe.
Beloved, think how bravely our Lord endured-herein is confidence. Tears did not drown the Savior's hope in God. He lived.He triumphed, notwithstanding all His sorrow. And because He lives, we shall live also. He says, "Be of good cheer, I haveovercome the world." Though our Hero had to weep in the fight, yet He was not beaten. He came, He wept, He conquered. Youand I must not be afraid to imitate Jesus-we share the tears of His eyes and we shall share the diamonds of His crown. Wearthe crown of thorns here and you shall wear the crown of glory hereafter.
Let this comfort you, too, that, though He wept, He weeps no more-herein is Heaven begun below. "Death has no more dominionover Him" in any sense or degree. He has done with weeping. So shall it be with us before long. How I love that promise-"Neithershall there be any more pain"! Heaven is without a temple, for it is all devotion. And so is it without a hospital, for itis all health and love. "The inhabitant shall no more say, I am sick." "Oh, for the no more weeping!" It will come to us beforelong, for it has come to Jesus.
"The Lord God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." We shall soon have no cause for sorrow and no possibility of grief.For as He is, such shall we be. And as He is perfectly blessed, we shall be beatified in Him. "Jesus wept." But His weepingis all over. "Jesus wept." But His sorrow is now a thing of the past and so shall ours be before long.
V. Fifthly and lastly, "Jesus wept"-IN THIS HE IS OUR EXAMPLE. We should weep, for Jesus wept. Jesus wept for others. I knownot that He ever wept for Himself. His were sympathetic tears. He embodied that command, "Weep with them that weep." He hasa narrow soul who can hold it all within the compass of his ribs. A true soul, a Christly soul, lives in other men's soulsand bodies as well as in its own. A perfectly Christly soul finds all the world too narrow for its abode, for it lives andloves. It lives by loving and loves because it lives.
Think of other weepers and have pity upon the children of grief. Today I want to touch your heart strings, and move you topity the pains and the agonies of the many now lying within the wards of our hospitals and the even greater miseries of thosewho pine for want of medicine and care because they cannot get into the hospitals but have to wear themselves out in hopelessdisease. How must those suffer who have bad nursing and little food and in the winter are pinched with cold! You and I maynever suffer as they do but at least let us grieve on their account and stand ready to succor them to the best of our ability.
In another matter our Lord is our example-learn from Him that our indignation against evil will best show itself in compassionfor sinners. Ah, my dear Friend! I heard you declaiming tremendously against drunkenness. I am glad to hear you-you cannotsay anything too hard or too heavy about that degrading vice. But, I pray you, wind up your denunciation with weeping overthe poor drunkard. I heard you speak, my other Friend, on behalf of the League of Purity and you smote the monsters of lasciviousnesswith all your force. I wish more strength to your arm! But when you have done, sit down and weep that such filthiness shoulddefile men and women, who are your fellow creatures.
Appeal to Parliament, if you wish, for the putting down of vice. But Parliament itself first needs correcting and purifying.A flood of tears before the thrice Holy God will do far more than the largest rolls of petition to our senators. "Jesus wept."And His tears were mighty weapons against sin and death. You feel indignant at the lazy, idle, loafing vagabonds whose veryillness is produced by their own vice-I cannot condemn your virtuous wrath. But if you would in all things imitate Jesus,please note that it is not written that Jesus thundered, but that "Jesus wept."
Let indignation have pity mixed with it. I like not lightning without rain, nor indignation without tears. I know what youwill say about the lack of thrift among the poor, about the absence of sobriety, the want of industry and so forth. Admitall this sorrowfully-chide it tenderly. And then weep. You will do more good to the offenders and more good to yourself andmore good to the best of causes, if pity moistens all. You may, if you will, beat the terrible drum and sound the war trumpet.But the noise will rather deafen than soften. The voice of your weeping will be heard deep down in the soul and work morewonders than thunders of denunciation.
Lastly, when you have wept, imitate your Savior-do something! If the chapter before us had finished with "Jesus wept," itwould have been a poor one. Suppose, after they had come to the grave, we had read, "Jesus wept and went about His daily business."I should have felt small comfort in the passage. If nothing had come of it but tears, it would have been a great failing offfrom the usual ways of our blessed Lord. Tears? What are they alone? Salt water. A cup of them would be of little worth toanybody.
But, Beloved, "Jesus wept," and then He commanded, "Roll away the stone." He cried, "Lazarus, come forth!" When Lazarus struggledout of the tomb, Jesus said, "Loose him and let him go." Some of you are full of pity for the sick. But I hope we shall notend in mere sentiment. Do not let us say, "We were moved to sympathize with the sick but we gave an awfully bad collection!"I should be ashamed to think of this morning's meditation if it ended so.
No, no! If you cannot raise the dead, give something towards rolling away the stone which shuts the poor out of the hospital.If you cannot restore them to health, at least do something towards removing their maladies. Loose them from this crowdedcity and send them into the country to a Convalescent Home. Brethren, we can thus practically prove the truth of our sympathy.Therefore, pass the boxes round!
Portions Of Scripture Read Before Sermon-John 11:17-46; Hebrews 2:6-18.