The Weeping Saviour Prays

Dr. Brian Allison

Did you shed any tears this past week, or were your eyes dry? Did you weep or cry this past week because of some dreadful situation that arose or some perplexing set of circumstances that befell you? Tears are rather interesting, aren't they? They can express the greatest joy or the deepest sorrow.

Usually we shed tears because of a build up emotions inside. Tears release the pressure. How has life been treating you? Are you shedding any tears? Jesus shed many tears. He was the weeping Saviour. He was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. Recall, for instance, that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus (Jn. 11:35). Throughout His life, Jesus shed tears. Tears were part and parcel of His earthly ministry; and He had much over which to be sad. Recall, again, that when our Lord, in His final days, descended upon the city of Jerusalem, He looked at it and wept over it (Lu. 19:41). What drives a man to weep over people, to weep over a city, to weep over some condition or situation? Pain often translates into tears. My friend, in your particular pain, remember and consider that Jesus was the weeping Saviour, and take courage.

Jesus prayed continually

It has been observed that one area in which Jesus perhaps shed many tears is that of prayer. Did you know that? In Hebrews 5:7, we read, "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety [or reverence]."

There are two observations that may be made here. The first is the utter dependency of our Lord on the Father; and, the second is the deep devotion of our Lord to the Father. Notice, further, that the structure of this text is threefold: the fact of prayer – "In the days of His flesh, He offered up prayers and supplications;" the character of prayer – "with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death;" and the attitude of prayer – "and He was heard because of His piety."

If there is one thing that characterized the earthly life of our Lord, it is that He was a man of prayer. You cannot help but draw that conclusion, even with a cursory reading of the Gospels. For instance, we read in Mark 1:35 , "And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there;" in Mark 6:46, "And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray;" in Luke 5:16, "But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray;" in Luke 6:12, "And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God." Prayer was our Lord's recourse. When situations became difficult, when issues became pressing, when the circumstances became uncertain or doubtful, our Lord resorted to prayer.

Jesus prayed fervently

Though the whole of Christ's life was characterized by prayer, Hebrews 5:7 clearly suggests that prayer particularly characterized His final days on earth, and especially that time prior to the cruel cross. The immediate backdrop of Hebrews 5:7 is the Garden of Gethsemane. Our Lord prayed here that the cup of the Father's wrath might be removed from Him, if it was the Father's will. He was in agony of soul and an angel was sent to strengthen Him.

This was an excruciating time for Christ. Again, He prayed "with loud crying and tears." Have you thought about that before? What kind of state of mind would engender this kind of praying? When was the last time that you prayed with such demonstration and emotion? Obviously, our Lord was in deep distress.

Now, Christ prayed with loud crying and tears, not because He feared physical death, and not because of the possibility of entering into the grave. He prayed in such a manner because of the impending prospect of being separated from the Father. It was not so much the imminent physical death, as it was the inevitable spiritual death (and the receiving of God's wrath for sin), that brought forth this expression of overwhelming grief.

Jesus prayed reverently

Christ prayed to the Father Who was able to save Him from death – not the fact of death, but the permanency of death – "and He was heard because of His piety." So, Christ was not heard because of His loud crying; He was not heard because of His many tears. We may think that we are heard because we may cry profusely and may grovel incessantly before God, but that is not what God necessarily responds to. Christ was heard because of His reverence, His godly fear; that is, He was not heard because of the manner in which He prayed, but because of the disposition or attitude out of which He prayed. And that is why we will be heard – not on account of our many emotionally tinted words, but on account of the depth of our sincerity and godly fear.

God heard Christ because of His fear, and thus raised Him from the state of death and "highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Php. 2:9-11). In effect, Christ's godly fear saved Him. This kind of fear should also characterize every believer, as we read in Hebrews 12:28, "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service, with reverence [the same term] and awe; for our God is a consuming fire."

The heart condition by which we approach God is critically important. We may go through all the religious motions; we may even show deep affectation; we may spend hours on our knees, and even manufacture countless tears, and, for all this, God may not hear us. What God is pleased to respond to is a heart that fears Him. Tears are good; they capture deep emotion, but the tears that God particularly notices are those of a pious heart.

What about you? How has your life been recently? Some of you reading this tract, no doubt, have been weeping and agonizing. Out of your anguish, did you seek the Lord? Did you pray to Him? Did you come in godly fear, unburdening your heart to Him? He hears my friend. Your Saviour knows what it is like to weep, to be filled with anguish and pain, and to cast Himself upon His Father in His utter weakness and poverty, crying out to God to deliver Him. He can sympathize with you. He was the weeping Saviour. Jesus understands. Cast yourself upon the Father, trusting in Christ, and God will deliver you through your dependency upon, and devotion to, Him. He delights in tears of piety.