As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” – Luke 23:26-31
Jesus has been beaten, whipped, spit upon, and insulted, both by the secular Roman rulers and the Jewish religious leaders He has come to save. This must have been such a difficult road on so many levels. I am not sure what Simon from Cyrene did to warrant being forced to carry the cross for Jesus and it does not say if he was a follower of Christ. He was merely on his way “in from the country”. Some have speculated that since Cyrene is in modern-day north Africa that Simon may have been a person of color. I do not know.
Jesus was being attended by a crowd of weeping women. My first question was where are the men? Were they afraid to lift their heads and stand up for this Man? The women were clearly not afraid to bare their souls for all to see and stand up for this man who has been wronged. The redemption and rescue that Jesus is offering is more important than their reputation. The women have chosen wisely.
Jesus’ response to the weeping women is “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.” Jesus is clearly seeing a future that will flow from the choices being made at this time. The people have chosen a line and the branch of the river they have chosen will lead to death and disaster. Jesus know about he rocky rapids ahead, but He is allowing these people, and all of us who will come after, to choose.
The coming calamity will not just be bad but will make many wish they had never been born, “Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us! It sounds like being buried alive will seem better than the times to come.
All of the future pain and anguish will stem from this time and the terrible transaction of an innocent man as ransom for our wondering souls. Jesus explains “For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” People are doing terrible things with God is walking with them in the flesh, how much more terrible will they behave when this light of the world is extinguished?
Despite the depressing scene and predictions for the future there is hope amid the anguish. The choices made by these people at this time had consequences. They made it harder to see the savior across the great chasm that separates the undiscovered country from this dry and dusty land. We
will be thirsty and it will be hard, but God will provide water in the wilderness and in the end God wins. Those who seek Him will find not only a green tree but a spring of living water that will never run dry.
Prayer: God thank You for making such a hard choice to come and die for us. Help us to make the hard choice to follow You.