They Shall Look Upon Me

Sacramental Meditation VII

By John Willison, Practical Works (London: Blackie & Son, 1844), 251-2; minimally edited.

“They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn…”(Zechariah 12:10b).

This promise hath respect, not only to the Jews when converted, but to all sinners when brought to repentance. We have all pierced Christ, inasmuch as our sins were the cause of his death: “He was wounded by our transgressions.” Now, a believing sight of a pierced Saviour, is the best spring of sorrow for sin; it is faith’s look to a crucified Christ, that will set us a mourning after a godly sort. Oh that this promise may be made good to me at this time, that I may be helped to look believingly upon Christ as pierced for my sins, my pride, passion, unbelief, carnality, disobedience, impenitence, sins of the heart, tongue, and life; that I may confess and bewail them, mourn and weep over them before the Lord. Oh! When shall I mourn and weep if not now, when I am called to look upon my dear Lord and surety at his table, all red with blood for my red and scarlet-coloured sins? I will not now stand afar off, and look to my Saviour on the cross, as those women who followed him from Galilee, Luke 23:49. No: I will come close to him, take a near look, and a narrow view of his wounds and piercings by my sins, that I may see how wide and deep they are, that my eye may affect my heart with godly sorrow for sin.

When I look on him, I will consider the dignity of the person pierced by and for me; he is the Almighty Creator, the glorious Emmanuel, the Plant of renown, the Prince of the kings of the earth, that is pierced and nailed to a cross. Jeremiah laments in the captivity, that princes were hanged up by the hands, Lamentation 5:12. But what were the princes of Israel to the Prince of Peace, the King of Glory, whom I see hanging nailed through the hands on the cross, and His blood poured out like water upon the earth! Oh it is royal blood, the blood of God, that I see running down to satisfy justice for my sins; and will not such a sight cause me to mourn for them? Can I look on my lovely Redeemer, stripped naked, mounted up, and fixed with nails to a tormenting cross? Can I see his head pierced with thorns, his back pierced with scourgings, his hands and feet pierced with big nails, His side pierced with a spear, and His heart pierced with sorrows for my sins, and my heart not mourn for them? Yet all the piercings and wounds of His sacred body were but small, to the piercings and agonies of his soul, when He drank the cup of his Father’s wrath for me, which made Him cry out, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death; my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Can I behold this loving Jesus, standing in my room, bearing the wrath of a Deity for me, and my heart not bleed? Can I see him, when the sword of justice was drawn to smite me, opening His breast to receive the stroke into His heart, and my heart not melt within me? Lord grant me such a sight by faith, of a wounded, bleeding Saviour, as to make me a melting and mourning sinner.


How can I leave this subject until my heart be more affected? Had I been personally at Mount Calvary, and with my bodily eyes had seen my dear Redeemer racked and nailed to the tree; had I seen Him lifted up between heaven and earth, that the nations might behold Him, with his arms stretched out to embrace sinners; had I beheld His dying looks, and heard His dying groans; had I seen His precious blood for many hours run from His wounded hands and feet to the earth; could I have stood by with dry eyes, or an unconcerned heart, especially when I had thought he was suffering all this out of love to me, for my sins, and in my room? Why then should I not be as much concerned, when I come to his table to celebrate the memorial of that fearful tragedy, and look upon the outward signs which represent the same? Lord, give me faith’s eye to behold the things signified thereby, even the bleeding and dying of the glorious Emmanuel. And what kind of blood is it I see streaming down? It is innocent blood! Precious blood! Royal blood! Heart blood! Nay, the blood of the eternal Son of God, one drop whereof is worth an ocean of our blood, and is of infinite value; and yet behold all this blood is shed for such worms as I am! Oh can I think long upon this subject, and not find my heart pained with love, and be ready with Joseph, to seek a secret place to weep in? Had an ordinary man been executed for my crime, it would have affected me all my days; how much should it touch me to see the Son of God put to death for me! The sun fainted, the heavens mourned, the earth quaked, and the rocks rent, when this black tragedy was acted; how much more should my heart rend and mourn at the representation of it before my eyes! Surely my mourning should be great, deep, and bitter, like the mourning of a parent for the death of an only son; or like the mourning of Haddadrimmon in the valley Megiddo! Oh what was the death of king Josiah to the death of King Jesus, the eternal Son of God! Oh my dear slain Lamb, shall I not mourn and weep over thee?

Oh! Can I see his blood run down in streams, and my eyes not pour out some drops! Did Christ sweat blood, and weep blood for my sins, and shall I not weep tears for them! Shall I not give drops of water for streams of blood! Alas! I am more sparing of my tears for Christ, than Christ was of his blood for me! How fast did the blood trickle down Christ’s cheeks in the day He wore the crown of thorns for me! But how slowly do the tears fall from my eyes when I commemorate His dying love! Can I shed tears in plenty for a dead child! And have I reserved none for a slain Saviour! Yea, slain by my sins! How sad is it to see so many weeping eyes at a funeral, and so many dry eyes at a communion table! Alas! This is a sad sign of few looking by faith to him we have pierced! Few sensible of the evil of their sins, that were the hammers which drove in the nails into his body. Oh for a realizing act of faith, representing all that the Lamb of God suffered, in the greatest certainty and clearest evidence, that it is no devised fable! Oh for an applying and appropriating act of faith, to bring all home to myself, and say, “He loved me and gave himself for me!”

What a hard heart is this I have beyond others! Can I see others weeping and mourning over a slain Saviour, that sit at the same table, eat the same bread, and drink the same cup with me, and cannot I get one tear! Lord, what means the hardness of my heart, and the dryness of my eyes, at the sight of my Saviour’s bleeding and dying for my sins? When should I mourn and weep if not now? Was there ever such an occasion for tears? Oh! Doth God intend to reserve weeping for me in hell, where tears shall never be dried up! This is what I deserve, if I be hard-hearted and dry-eyed now. But, Lord, pity my hardness, and give me such a look as thou gavest Peter, that may cause me to weep, and weep bitterly, at the remembrance of my sins which pierced thee. Ω