Reading the Word
Luke 23:27–31 (ESV)
27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Understanding and Applying the Word
As Jesus traveled the path to the cross, there were many women who were following along and mourning for him. This is a reminder to us that not everyone wanted Jesus to die. There were those who loved and believed Jesus. When Jesus saw them, he told them not to weep for him, but to weep for themselves and their children. Jesus knew that in only a few years (A.D. 70) the Jewish people would face great suffering and difficulty when the Romans destroyed both Jerusalem and its temple.
The Romans were willing to execute an innocent man (Jesus). This is what Jesus meant when he said, “For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Jesus is the innocent, green wood that is facing the fire of the Romans. But how much worse will it be when the wood is dry? How much worse will it be when the target is not innocent? That will be the case when the Romans destroy Jerusalem. It will be a ruthless destruction. And it was.
Jesus’ words to these women were to point out that the women were weeping for the wrong thing. Jesus’ rejection meant judgment for the nation. Rejection of Jesus means judgment for each and every one of us. We must warn the world of sin and judgment and tell them of the salvation that is available through Christ.
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