[Column] Tears of Jesus Christ

Scientific analysis of tears reveals that it is composed of 90% water, 7% sodium, 2% protein, and 1% mucin. These physical substances, however, can serve as spiritual food (Psalms 80:5) when we pattern our hearts after Christ and shed Christ-like tears. During His public ministry, Jesus wept numerous times. In fact, in the Gospels Jesus weeps three times. Why did Jesus who was sinless and perfect in character shed tears? American poet JohnVance Cheney said, “The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears.” As we understand the true meaning of Jesus’ tears, we can beautify our souls.

Jesus shed the tears of mercy out of love. In John 11:35, we see Him weep over the death of Lazarus, whom He truly loved. Like Christ, we must share in other’s suffering and look upon them compassionately. There once lived a king who suffered from an eye infection. No known medicine could heal him of this problem. Then one day, a man proposed to the king that he would cure the king’s eye infection. The overjoyed king followed the man to the village of his subjects and was shocked to have witnessed their harsh and ignominious living conditions. Suddenly, there was a loud crying. The king followed the sound of crying and discovered three young children next to a dead body wrapped in a rag.

Overwhelmed by emotion, the king burst into uncontrollable tears and to his amazement he was cured of his eye infection. The tears of mercy heal ourselves and others. We are called to mourn with those who mourn. He who shed the tears of mercy is truly Christ-like.

Jesus also shed the tears of sorrow over judgment. In Luke 19:41 and proceeding verses, Jesus weeps as He beholds the city of Jerusalem because He knew of the impending judgment on the city of Jerusalem. These were the tears of pain and sorrow over the judgment and destruction of the Israelites. As Jesus beholds the city of Jerusalem, He says, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes”(Luke 19:42). As ironic as it may be, Jerusalem means peace (Hebrews 7:2), yet its people did not recognize the King of Peace when He entered it. As Jesus Christ prophesied, Titus, the son of the Roman Emperor, seized Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and massacred over six hundred thousand people. We must shed tears of repentance and sorrow over our community, our city, our people, and their sin.

Most importantly, Jesus shed prayerful tears for His ministry. Hebrews 5:7 reads: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” During His public ministry and the final days in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus offered up a tearful, agonizing prayer for the salvation of souls through the Crucifixion. Do you weep more over your own suffering and problems than you do over the ministry of God? Someone said, “In times of trouble and temptation, focus on visions and callings rather than on resolving or overcoming them.” God provides us with all things as we first seek His Kingdom and righteousness. There are God’s rewards for shedding Christ-like tears. They are comfort (Matthew 5:4) and the personal experience of God’s Kingdom (Revelation 21:4). As Charles Spurgeon wrote in The Treasury of David, “No coming to heaven with dry eyes.” Souls attain gemlike beauty and enjoy everlasting happiness through tears. May all of you attain the tears of Christ.

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