Summary: John makes Mary the first to see the risen Christ, and the first to have her tears of grief wiped away by the reality of the resurrection.
It I had a dollar for every tear shed by men and women if the Bible, I would be a wealthy
man, for the Bible is a book soaked with the tears of the saints. The weeping of the wicked
and the sobs of sinners added to the tears of the saints makes a salty sea of liquid. Not only
was Jesus a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, but the Bible is a book of sorrows, and
is acquainted with grief. The Bible deals with life as it really is, and real life provides
abundant opportunity for the exercise of the tear ducts. Not all tears are bad.
Charles Dickens said, "We need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are like rain upon
the blinding dust of earth." Tears, like rain drops, have brought forth much fruitfulness.
Tears can move the very heart of God. When Hezekiah was told he would die he wept
bitterly, and God sent Isaiah to say to him in II Kings 20:5, "Thus says the Lord, the God of
David your Father: I've heard your prayers, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you."
Tears of repentance have transformed dying weeds into living flowers of faith. Dante, in
his Divine Comedy, has a story of a demon and an angel debating over which should have
possession of the body of one who had died in battle. The angel clinched his argument for
possession by opening the eyes of the dead man. "See," said the bright angel, "The trace of a
recent tear." This can be overly sentimental, and people can weep without repenting, but the
fact is, tears of true repentance do move the heart of God. Few things are more tragic than
eyes that have never shed tears over sin.
O ye tears, O ye tears! I am thankful that ye run!
Thou ye trickle in the darkness, ye shall glitter in the sun.
The rainbow cannot shine if the rain refused to fall,
And the eyes that cannot weep are the saddest eyes of all.
Tears of repentance are worth their weight in gold. Those who shed such tears will enter
that land of bliss where God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. But those who never
shed them will never escape them, for their destiny is outer darkness where there shall be
weeping and gnashing of teeth. Blessed are those who mourn now for sin, for they shall be
comforted forever. Those who will not weep in time, will weep in eternity. There is no escape
from tears, but you have a choice as to when you will shed them. Spurgeon said, "The tears
of penitents are precious, a cup of them were worth a king's ransom. It is no sign of weakness
when a man weeps for sin."
Henry Martyn is a legend among missionaries. One of the greatest ever, but he may never
have been heard of had it not been for tears. As a student he got into a quarrel with his
father. In a fit of passion he stormed out of the house, never to return. Before he could
return and seek his father's forgiveness, his father suddenly died. His remorse was so pitiful,
and his eyes so swollen with tears. F. W. Borham writes, "But that torrent of tears so
cleansed those eyes that he was able to see, as he had never seen before, into the abysmal
depths of his own heart." He saw himself as a sinner who desperately needed a Savior. His
father, by dying, gained an answer to his prayers. The poet describes how tears of repentance
can be a dead man's blessing.
When I was laid in my coffin,
Quite done with time and its fears,
My son came and stood beside me
He hadn't been home for years;
And right on my face came dripping
The scald of his salty tears,
And I was glad to know his breast
Had turned at last to the old home nest,
That I said to myself in an under breath:
This is the recompense of death.
There are many kinds of tears. There are the tears shed for the sins of others.
Compassion for others has made the strongest men weak. Jesus wept for others, and tears
like these have changed the course of history. Shakespeare said, "Did he break into tears?
There are no faces truer than those that are so washed." Psa. 126:5-6 says of this kind of
weeping, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing
precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Compassionate tears, like raindrops, have brought forth much fruit.
When Lincoln got the telegram that General Lee was about to surrender, he left