Luke 23:26-31: When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. “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.’ “Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US.’ “For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
These “daughters,” were women of Jerusalem who may have been spectators, mixed in with former disciples, who followed Him on His journey to Golgotha. They were weeping to see Jesus suffer so severely. They might have been filled with fear, guilt for their nation, and a sense of dread concerning what they were witnessing. I never realized they were the recipients of Jesus’ last public teaching, and it was both a warning and a prophecy.
His admonishment was dire. Their people and the Romans had just sentenced the Messiah, the sinless lamb, to death. If such a thing was possible, how could they and their children escape the trials to come for Jerusalem, and the ultimate wrath of God for what had happened to the Holy One of Israel? If these evil people could destroy a live, green tree, imagine what God would do to their dry, dead wood? Who would want to have children and raise them among such evil people and in a place destined for such horror?
Jesus’ strong words are tinged with the same pain we hear in Isaiah’s proclamations about the iniquities of Israel: “Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.” (Isaiah 1:4)
How is this scripture relevant to us today, as we sit in our comfortable homes two millennia later? As a mother, I have to admit, Jesus’ utterance to the women of Jerusalem resonates with me. I am raising children in a society that is just as sinful and has rejected Him.
I read about it almost daily – here’s one frightening example from a recent Fox News report: President Barack Obama topped a new Harris poll that asked 2,634 Americans who they admire enough to call a hero. Jesus came in second.
I’m living among people who have rejected Jesus. Are we weeping for Him? How long until the dead wood is set on fire?
Daughters of the King, pray the words of the prophet Joel with me for our country: Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:13)