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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at Calvary Road Baptist Church, Monrovia, 
California, Friday Evening, September 13, 2002

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger" (Lamentations 1:12).

This was the cry of Jeremiah when he saw the destruction of Jerusalem and the cruel torture of Jewish children by the invading Babylonians. Jeremiah has been called "the weeping prophet." And no prophet ever expressed more sorrow than he did.

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me…"

But are the words of Jeremiah strictly from him? Isn't there some deeper meaning here? If we take these words and put them into the mouth of Jesus, there we see the deeper meaning. And I think we should put these words into the Saviour's mouth.

I have always disliked red-letter Bibles. They say, "The words of Christ are in red." My feeling has always been - then all the words of Scripture should be in red - for they are all His words!

Our Lord gave a similar lamentation when He wept over Jerusalem.

"And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it" (Luke 19:41).

So, here in our text, the Saviour doubtlessly put into the mouth of the prophet His own feelings, not only at the time of Jerusalem's destruction, but also at the time when He was crucified outside the walls of that city. Through the words of the prophet we hear the voice of Jesus saying:

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger" (Lamentations 1:12).

There are three divisions of this text, as they apply to the Saviour's crucifixion.

I. First, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?"

"And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst" (John 19:17-18).

On that terrible day, they crucified the Son of God on a cross, with great nails piercing His hands and feet. He hung there naked before their eyes. Do not believe the pictures you see of Him with a loincloth. No! He hung there as a naked spectacle, bleeding on the Cross to pay for your sin.

Then the Bible says:

"And they that passed by reviled him [hurled abuse at Him], wagging their heads" (Matthew 27:39).

"Wagging their heads" was "a Near Eastern expression of scorn" (Ryrie Study Bible, note on Matthew 27:39). "And they that passed by reviled him [or hurled abuse at Him]."

I want you to think about three groups that "passed by" the Cross and looked upon the crucified Saviour that day. To each of them He says, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" (Lamentations 1:12).

First, there was the jeering crowd. They actually screamed at Him, and mocked His dying agony,

"And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth" (Matthew 27:40-44).

Oh, think of that howling mob that mocked and yelled at Jesus! There were people there who had been fed by Him, who had relatives who had been healed by Him, who had hypocritically bowed before Him and cried, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest" (Matthew 21:9) only a few days before. Now they are mocking Him, laughing at Him, jeering at Him, hurling insults at Him!

The religious leaders pass by the Cross doing the same thing - insulting Him and defying Him.

Even the two thieves, one crucified on either side of Him, join the chorus of hate-filled mocking ridicule.

Oh, is there someone like that here tonight? Have you joked about Christ when you were with lost friends? Have you used Christ's name as a curse word? Have you made fun out of the crucifixion of the bleeding Saviour? Many people do, as you well know. Muslims deny that He died at all. Buddhists care nothing about the Saviour's death. Unsaved Jews tell unsavory jokes about the crucifixion. Atheists deny that His death had any reason. Agnostics doubt that the whole event had any importance. So-called Catholics and evil Baptists and evangelicals often mock and insult the dying Saviour to this very day! Have you been one of them? Have you? God help you if you have! What hope do you have without Him?

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" (Lamentations 1:12).

"And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads" (Matthew 27:39).

Then there were the weeping women who passed by Christ's Cross:

"And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him" (Luke 23:27).

They passed by the Cross of Christ wailing and crying. Did this show that they were spiritual? It did not! It showed only that they had a melancholy sorrow over Jesus' horrible death. They felt sorry for Him. But they had no understanding that He was dying on purpose, to pay for their sins. Many Catholics, and even many Protestants today, are just like them. They feel sorrow for Christ when we move toward Easter in the spring of each year. For a few days or weeks before Easter, they feel sorry for Christ. But they do not trust the risen Saviour. They do not come to an outright conversion by putting their trust in the risen Christ. So, after Easter, they go right back to their old way of living. This kind of sorrow will not save anyone. If you merely feel sorry that they crucified Jesus, it will not help you one bit - if that's as far as it goes. It will only harden you in your sin to be sorry for a few minutes tonight. It won't save you!

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation…but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (II Corinthians 7:10).

Don't go on with an empty, shallow sorrow for Jesus! Move into a deep sorrow over your sins, your sins which drove Him to the Cross. Without sorrow for your sins, you will not be converted. You must be convinced that you are inwardly a sinner, in your mind and heart. Only such an inward convincing of your own sin can prepare you to receive salvation in Christ. We could well say, to those weeping women,

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" (Lamentations 1:12).

Is it nothing more than a little sorrow of this world that "worketh death," because it only hardens you more, and makes you more self-satisfied? After all, you may say, "I did feel sorry that they treated Him this way. Doesn't that make me better than the others?" No! No! It makes you just as bad as them. You still have not grasped the meaning of Christ's death and resurrection. You still have not been converted. The melancholy sorrow you feel will do you no more good than it did Judas, who was sorry that he betrayed Jesus, and so went out and hanged himself, and went "to his own place," to Hell. The sorrow of this world worketh death. You must move beyond mere sorrow for Jesus - and begin to truly sorrow over your own sins and your own horribly sinful mind and heart. Until that inner turmoil and inner struggle of self-realization occurs within you, Jesus must still say to you:

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" (Lamentations 1:12).

"And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads" (Matthew 27:39).

Finally, there were the Roman soldiers. They too passed back and forth under the Cross where Jesus was crucified:

"And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself" (Luke 23:36-37).

"The soldiers took a stick with a sponge on the end of it, dipped the sponge in sour wine, and put it to His lips to drink. The sour wine was mixed with a narcotic to deaden the pain of crucifixion" (MacArthur Study Bible, note on Matthew 27:34). "And when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink." "The lessening of physical pain would probably have diminished the efficacy of His atoning work" (MacArthur Study Bible, ibid.). It is strange that he is right on this and wrong on the Blood!

Did those Roman soldiers offer the vinegar to Him out of the goodness of their hearts? No, they did not! You see, crucifixion was their business. They did crucifixions nearly every day. It was just a routine. They always offered the vinegar to anyone who was being crucified. This was just part of their everyday work. "It's vinegar time," they said.

They had no pity or love for the dying Saviour. We know that because the Bible tells us, right after they offered Him the vinegar, they said

"If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself" (Luke 23:37).

They were military men, so it doesn't seem that they mocked by screaming at Him. They just repeated what the other mockers had said, in a dignified, soldierly way. But they mocked Him nonetheless.

Let's think about those Roman soldiers a bit more. I think there are several people like them here tonight, passing by Christ's Cross, as it is being preached here tonight. I said that these men were soldiers. I said that this was their day-to-day work - crucifying people. They were hardened to it. They were like paramedics who get used to handling mangled, bleeding bodies, or like morticians who are long accustomed to touching rotted bodies and disfigured corpses. I knew a mortician who told me he ate his dinner while working on dead bodies. You couldn't do that - unless you got used to it - like he did - and like the Roman soldiers did.

You see, when a thing, even a horrible thing like crucifixion, becomes routine, it no longer troubles you. You become used to it. Many of the church kids here tonight are so familiar with hearing about Christ's crucifixion that it doesn't bother you any more than it did those Roman soldiers! My mother used to say, "Familiarity breeds contempt." It's true! If you become too knowledgeable and used to a thing like this, it no longer moves you in your heart. Haven't you heard so many sermons on the crucifixion that you think, "Oh, I've heard that before. He's talking about the crucifixion. I know all about it." And so you tune the sermon out and don't think about it.

Beware, you who have become as hardened as these soldiers. Beware, lest your heart becomes so familiar and so hardened that the agony of Christ makes no impression on you! I say, beware! You are in deep trouble tonight, if that is your case. You are now in the place of thinking about the Blood of Christ as "an unholy [or common] thing" (Hebrews 10:29). When that happens to you, God hardens your heart in judgment. It would be better to be stoned to death than to have such a calloused, unfeeling heart! Doom is yours, in Hell, because you passed by the Cross of Christ, and heard about the crucifixion of the Saviour, and your heart was as cold as those of the Roman soldiers. You are a "church kid." You have heard about Christ's crucifixion so often that you close your mind to it. "Oh, that again," you say. Oh, I warn you, beware!

"Harden not your hearts, as…in the day of temptation in the wilderness" (Hebrews 3:8).

Oh, harden not your heart tonight. Look anew and afresh on the mangled, bleeding body of Christ! And realize that He did this for you - because He loves you and paid the penalty for your sin on the Cross!

Don't be like that hardened mortician who could eat a sandwich while working on a corpse! Dreadful! Horrible! Ask God to soften your heart so you can look on the sacrifice of Christ and be saved by cleansing in His Blood!

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" (Lamentations 1:12a).

II. Second, "Behold, and see if there be any sorrow
like unto my sorrow."

I say that the sorrow and agony of Christ have no comparison in all human history. I say that no one has ever experienced the pain and torment that Jesus went through in His suffering and crucifixion.

Go back in your mind to the night before He was arrested, tried and crucified. He is alone, praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prays, He sweats, He feels great waves of turmoil and anguish in His soul. He runs back to where the Disciples are sleeping. They are of no help to Him. He goes back farther into the midnight darkness, alone. As He prays the blood vessels in His body began to ooze out bloody sweat. This is such a rare human event that it is only mentioned in a few medical books. Very few human beings bleed bloody sweat, as Jesus did that night. Horrible for His clothing to be streaked with sweat, dripping with gore! And He hasn't even been arrested yet, much less flogged or crucified.

There in the Garden the very weight of your sins were placed on the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. He was a hideous sight, all streaked with sweat and blood. He must have looked like poor Jonah, his flesh all bloody, after he was vomited from the great fish. People were horrified at the sight of the prophet Jonah, and they must have also been revolted at the sight of the Bloody Christ that night.

In his prophetic vision of the Son of God standing blood-streaked in the Garden, Isaiah said:

"Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save" (Isaiah 63:1).

Christ is He who came from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah! The Saviour's very clothing was dyed crimson red in the Blood of His agony in the Garden. Think of Him standing there in clothes that were wet through with Blood! Blood-red, dripping clothes!

See Him praying. See His great sorrow of soul, which nearly killed Him before they could arrest Him. See His bleeding face and hands and arms and legs. See clots of Blood clinging to His clothes, His mind reeling with horror and sorrow we cannot imagine, as your sins were placed on Him as the sacrificial Lamb!

"Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow" (Lamentations 1:12b).

The worst of His suffering in the Garden was that He was utterly alone when our sins were laid on Him. Great Spurgeon tells us of the Lord's loneliness in the Garden:

"See" said Satan, as he hissed it out between his teeth - "See, thou hast a friend nowhere! Look up to heaven, thy Father hath shut up the bowels of his compassion against thee. Not an angel in thy Father's courts will stretch out his hand to help thee…All heaven is false against thee; thou art left alone. And as for earth, do not all men thirst for thy blood? Will not the Jew be gratified to see thy flesh torn with nails, and will not the Roman gloat himself when thou, King of the Jews, art fastened to the Cross? Thou hast no friend among the nations; the high and mighty scoff at thee, and the poor thrust out their tongues in derision…Son of Mary, see there [thy disciples] - they sleep, they sleep…how the cowards sleep when thou art in thy sufferings! Lo! Thou hast no friend left in heaven or earth. All hell is against thee. I have stirred up my infernal den. I have sent my [demons] throughout all regions [calling] every prince of darkness to set upon thee this night…we will use all our infernal might to overwhelm thee; And what wilt thou do, thou [lonely] one, thou solitary one?" It may be this was the temptation; I think it was, because the appearance of an angel unto him strengthening him removed that fear…He was no longer alone, but [an angel] was with him. It may be that this is the reason of his coming three times to his disciples - as Hart puts it -

"Backwards and forwards thrice he ran, 
As if he sought some help from man."

He [wanted to] see for himself whether it was really true that all men had forsaken him (C. H. Spurgeon, "Gethesemane," Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 9, p. 73).

I dwell at length on Christ's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, because in many ways it was the worst part of His agony, worse than anything that would happen to Him the next morning; worse than the beating, which tore great hunks of flesh from His back; worse than the soldiers pounding His face with their fists until His eyes were swollen shut and His nose and cheek bones were doubtlessly broken; worse than the crowning with thorns, which made gashes in His scalp, and loosed a bloody serum that drained down into His eyes, and attracted a swarm of flies that came to bite His face, which, when nailed to the Cross, He could not brush away; worse even than the nails that pierced His hands and feet - the night before, in the Garden of Gethsemane, was worse than all that would come the next day, for it was in the Garden that sin was infused into His Body, and He became the sacrificial Lamb of God, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body…" (I Peter 2:24).

These thoughts on the Saviour's agony take us back to the question in our text:

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow…" (Lamentations 1:12).

But I have spoken too long already, and we must hurry on to the last point of this sermon.

III. Third, the text points out the true source of Christ's agony,
"which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath
afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger."

Let no new person go from here without learning it, and let no "church kid" forget it - Christ did not die by mistake! He did not die by accident, or because something went wrong! Oh, no, it was all planned from eternity past that God would send "the lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).

Christ Himself quoted the Old Testament prophets again and again, pointing out that they foretold His suffering and death for mankind's sin. It was God's plan "from the foundation of the world" to send Jesus to die on the Cross to pay for your sins.

But let us not stray from the weighty meat of the text, and the unpleasant, fearful realities it presents:

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger" (Lamentations 1:12).

The sorrow that fell on Christ was "done unto" Him by God! That's right, God did it to Him! The text says

"…which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger" (Lamentations 1:12).

The wrath of God fell on Jerusalem as a result of their sin. But the wrath of God fell on Jesus to atone for our sin. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Sin requires a payment. Either the wrath of God falls on you - or it falls on Jesus.

When you trust the Saviour His death on the Cross atones for your sins, and His Blood washes away your iniquities.

When Christ went through the pain of the Garden, the beating, and the crucifixion, He received the direct punishment of God that you deserved.

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities…and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:4-6).

Christ "bare our sins in his own body" on the Cross (I Peter 2:24). And when you come to Christ, your sins are paid for and then washed away by His Blood. Will you come to the Saviour? Will you come to Him tonight?

I saw one hanging on a tree, in agony and blood,
He fixed His pain-filled eyes on me, as near the Cross I stood.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt, And plunged me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt, and helped to nail Him there.
    ("He Died For Me," by John Newton, 1725-1807).

Is my sermon a waste?

Did Christ suffer for nothing?

Are you unconcerned?

Are you "turned off" by the atonement?

Is it nothing to you?

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger" (Lamentations 1:12).


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. John S. Waldrip: Matthew 27:35-50.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"He Died For Me" (by John Newton, 1725-1807,
    sung to the tune of "O God, Our Help in Ages Past").



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger" (Lamentations 1:12).

(Luke 19:41)

I.   "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" John 19:17-18;
Matthew 27:39, 40-44; Matthew 21:9; Luke 23:27;
II Corinthians 7:10; Luke 23:36-37; Hebrews 10:29;
Hebrews 3:8.

II.  "Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow,"
Isaiah 63:1; I Peter 2:24.

III. "Which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me
in the day of his fierce anger," Revelation 13:8;
Romans 6:23; Isaiah 53:4-6; I Peter 2:24.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."