…And there followed Him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for Him (Luke 23:27).
Jesus is carrying His cross to the place of execution. But the severe flogging and other mistreatment has sapped His strength so that He can no longer bear His cross. The Roman soldiers force a man named Simon, who was coming into Jerusalem from the country, to carry it for Him.
A great crowd of people follow Jesus, including women from Jerusalem, weeping and wailing for Him. In the midst of His agony, sorrow and pain, Jesus turns and tells them to stop sobbing for Him. Like Peter, they need to weep for their sins and for the wrath of God, which those sins have stirred.
Earlier Jesus had wept for Jerusalem, knowing that in 70 A.D. God’s wrath will fall on that city, as the legions of Rome surround it. Watching their children suffering and dying in the slow, grinding terror of that siege, Jewish women will wish something no Jew would have otherwise thought: they will wish they had been childless! At that dreadful time those living in Jerusalem will wish for a sudden, cataclysmic death, instead of the slow starvation they experienced, as the Roman legions slowly choke off Jerusalem and grind its people into the dust.
What a vivid, horrible picture of hell, where people will long to be exterminated in one rapid moment. Instead, they will suffer the slow, burning terror of hell, knowing it will never, ever end. Today is the time for each of us to weep, mourning and seeking God’s forgiveness in Jesus, the Savior of the world.
THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Your Son carried my guilt and sin, as He went out to die in my place. Fill my heart with sorrow and regret over my sins, so I may flee to Him for salvation. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
*Thank you to Lutheran Hour Ministries for providing this devotion.