Luke 23:26-31 – 26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 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?”
Jesus is making His way to calvary to be crucified. Simon of Cyrene has been press ganged into carrying the cross for Him. Jesus is, no doubt collapsing from exhaustion due to fatigue, the beatings and the stress of events. Then He notices that there are a group of women mourning and lamenting for Him and He addresses them. The address is simple enough. “Don’t weep for me. Weep for yourselves and your children”.
Who are these women?
Daughters of Jerusalem – These women represent the Jewish nation (Isaiah 3:16-17; 4:3-4; Zephaniah 3:14; Zechariah 9:9). Jesus is not just talking to these women. He is giving a prophecy about a great tragedy coming upon the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel.
Jesus is warning them about terrible things coming to the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel. And it did. In 70 A.D. Jerusalem was besieged by Rome and there was suffering that was unheard of. Verse 29 refers to the fall of Jerusalem. Better to have no family at all that to be alive with a family when that terror starts. Children are always considered a blessing in the Scriptures – until this. Children will only add to your heartache – because nothing tears at a mothers heart more than seeing her children suffer.
Tough days are coming, Jesus is telling them, much worse than what they are witnessing right now. But He is not just talking about the city falling in A.D. 70. These women represent the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation. But that is not all. They represent humanity.
Jesus says to them “Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’” What piece of Scripture does this remind us of?
Revelation 6:12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Jesus is talking about the fate of those who do not know Him when He comes to judge the world. These women represent the human race from all the peoples of the world.
It was not wrong for these women to be weeping over what was about to happen to Jesus. What they were doing was good. Let us not condemn their compassion and hearts here. But Jesus wants compassion for other things too. There are more important things than grief for pain and suffering. This world is one big massive putrefying sore that oozes pain and suffering. But there are greater things to weep about than physical suffering. And that is what Jesus is getting at here. Of course we should be saddened at the innumerable ways in which people suffer in the world today. But believers have an additional crying to do. They should cry over the souls of lost people.
What makes us weep? What made Jesus weep?
Luke 13:34 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Matthew 9:36 – 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Jesus called these women, and He calls us, to weep for those who will not turn from sin and who will be numbered among those who will call upon the rocks to fall on them rather than face the judgement of God. Dear ones – do we weep for the lost? Do we believe they are lost? Do we believe that if they do not repent it is better for them if they were never born? Well, no one can go through the world with that load bearing down on them all the time, so what do we do? We suppress it. We convince ourselves that it isn’t true. We convince ourselves that it isn’t true for our loved ones.
Should we not weep over the children? Do we weep for what they are taught at school? Do we weep for their rejection of the Gospel? Do we weep for their souls? Do we weep for the ideas about life that they are being taught? Do we weep for the lies they believe? Do we weep for the culture that believes the lies they teach? Do we weep when we give people the Gospel knowing that their souls hang in the balance? Do we weep when people scorn and refuse the Gospel or say that it is fine for us but it’s not for them. Do we weep when faith in Jesus is sometimes seen to be the problem and not the solution?
Don’t weep for Jesus. Jesus is the ruling sovereign over all that is. No. Weep for those who will call on the mountains to fall on then rather than face the wrath of the Lamb. And pray for workers. The harvest is plentiful. The workers are few. Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out workers. Then get up form the place of prayer and be that worker.