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Weep for yourselves


Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”              -Luke 24:46-47

I want to share a story from Ravi Zacharias’ book “The Logic of God” (p 17-18).

He refers to a young lady near where he lived who was born with a rare disease called CIPA – Congenital Insensitivity to Pain without Anhidrosis.

The girl looked normal and acted normally, except for one thing – she could not feel physical pain. At first that sounds like a blessing.

But the reason it’s a problem is that people with CIPA live under the constant threat of injuring themselves without knowing it.

If she stepped on a rusty nail that could infect her bloodstream, she wouldn’t even realize it by sensation. If she placed her hand on a burning stove, she would not know that she had burned her hand except by looking at it.

She needs constant vigilance because she could sustain an injury that could take her life or cause serious debilitation.

When her family was interviewed some years ago, the line Ravi most remembered was the closing statement by her mother. She said, “I pray every night for my daughter, that God would give her a sense of pain.”

Ravi pointed out, “If that statement was read in a vacuum, we would wonder what sort of mother she is. But because more than anyone else she understands the risks of this strange disease, there is no greater prayer she can pray than that her daughter feel pain and be able to recognize what it portends.”

We often wonder why Jesus let Himself experience the full gamut of the human experience, including pain and death. In part it was so any thoughtful human would understand that they could never accuse Jesus of not understanding!

We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.                                -Hebrews 4:15-16

Before Thanksgiving we looked at the arrest of Jesus, and His 6 sham trials, three before the Jewish Religious Leaders, and 3 before the Roman Leaders.

Pilate found Jesus not guilty of anything deserving death, yet gave into the mob calling for Jesus’ crucifixion. Innocent, yet condemned to be executed.

Theologically something greater was happening, something John 3:16ish! God the Father was allowing His perfect Son Jesus to be killed in our place so God  wouldn’t have to kill us because of our treasonous sin against God. 

In today’s passage we will see Jesus go from Pilate’s presence to the place of execution. We often hear how Jesus made 7 statements from the cross. Today we will look at the only statement Jesus made on the way to the cross.

Read Luke 23:26-31                       Weep for yourselves                      Let’s Pray!

Before Jesus took the journey from Pilate down the Via Delarosa to Calvary, He had already experienced a day’s worth of horrible mistreatment.

He had been betrayed by Judas; Denied by Peter; Deserted by most other male disciple friends. He had been arrested at his safe prayer place; seized and bound like a criminal.

He had been questioned and punched before the former High Priest Annas; Falsely testified about before the High Priest Caiaphas; Illegally convicted of blasphemy before the Sanhedrin. He had been blindfolded, spit on, slapped, beaten with fists, mocked, and blasphemed by his fellow Jews.

Then He was questioned by Pilate fearfully, and questioned by Herod Antipas contemptibly. He was mocked once more by cruel Roman soldiers, spat on again, given more blows to the face, stripped naked, robed in purple like royalty as a cruel joke, then He was scourged, or flogged –

That involved a short whip, a flagellum, with multiple leather straps with iron balls or sheep bones attached to the end. With every one of the 39 lashes, some skin would tear open and make gash wounds. Two soldiers usually took turns doing it because it exhausted them! The back, the buttocks, and legs were flogged.  

Then a Crown of thorns was placed on His head – those thorns could be multiple inches long – think about how painful those sharp thorns were when they were pressed down on Jesus’ head. Blood probably began flowing immediately. Then Jesus was beaten on that same head with a reed, magnifying the pain.

Jesus was found innocent by Pilate, yet sent to be crucified, while the very guilty Barabbas was let go.   

All with the full knowledge that one day everyone there that day would stand before Him and give an account, yet willfully restraining Himself from acting to keep it from happening, so that He could be our Savior.

And then He was sent to the cross.

Simon bore Jesus’ cross before Jesus bore his (and ours)                        V. 26

As they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus.

Wow! You talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time!

I believe Simon is the first man from Africa named in the New Testament. Cyrene was the capitol of Cyrenaica, which is in modern day Libya.

Acts 2 & 6 tell us that Jews had come to Jerusalem for the feast from all over the Roman Empire, & that included Cyrenians from the Synagogue of the Freedmen.

The authorities spotted Simon and made him carry the crossbeam of Jesus’ cross.

Simon had travelled 800 miles to be there, and now he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That of course is speaking from the human point of view, because from Heaven’s perspective Simon was at the right place at the right time! He was about to have a divine encounter with Jesus that would forever change his life.

That’s interesting, because Simon is another name for Simeon. Simon Peter also went by the name Simeon (2 Peter 1:1, Greek). Simon and Simeon is like Danny and Daniel, 2 things you can call the same guy.

You may remember in the 2nd chapter of Luke a man named Simeon held baby Jesus up in the Temple and declared that Jesus would be destined for the fall & rising of many in Israel, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, & the glory of Your people Israel.

Here in the next to last chapter of Luke another Simon holds up Jesus’ cross on the way to Calvary.   

Usually the guilty one carried their own crossbeam to the place of execution.

It is usually assumed that Jesus had been beaten too much for that to happen.

Perhaps, but I think Pilate did this to further indicate to the religious leaders that he found Jesus innocent. Later in the chapter we will see Pilate refused to change the sign with the charges on it!

Jesus was innocent, and Pilate didn’t make Him carry that cross-beam. Simon was an innocent bystander that day, but like all of us was a guilty sinner before God.

The Greek reads that Simon literally ‘took up his cross,’ took up Jesus’ cross.’

In that sense Simon was a stand-in for you and for me.

Simon literally did what each of us is called to do – take up our cross and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23-26; John 15:18-16:4).

If it hasn’t cost you anything to follow Jesus, something is wrong with your discipleship journey!

This was a divine encounter.

Each of us is to personally identify with what Jesus did for us.

Simon carried that cross up the hill for Jesus, and hen Jesus died on that cross for Simon’s sins.

I am about as positive as I can be that Simon hung around once they got to Calvary, saw what Jesus did, and placed his faith in Jesus!

Mark 15:21lets us know that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.

What does that probably mean?

That Mark’s audience knew Alexander and Rufus.

Scholars believe that Mark’s gospel probably first went to the church in Rome.

Here’s what Paul’s letter to the Romans says in Romans 16:13 –

“Greet Rufus and his mom!”

We can guess that Simon carried the cross up to the place of the skull, watched what happened there, & became a believer in Jesus! His family later got a shout out in 2 documents written first to the Romans – Mk. 15:21 and Rom. 16:13.

Simon bore Jesus’ cross before Jesus bore his (and ours). Next we see…

Jesus told those who would weep for Him to weep for themselves    V> 27-31

Jesus spoke 7 sayings while He was on the cross, but only one on the way to the cross – the verses that are here.

In verse 27 we read that a great multitude was following Jesus down that Via Delarosa.

Some had been in the crowd that had shouted “Hosanna” to Him a week earlier. Others had been in the crowd that earlier that morning had yelled “Crucify Him.” Some had been in both crowds…I have been in both crowds.

Then we read that there were women who were mourning and lamenting Him.

They were overcome with sorrow for what was unfolding before them.

And after all we have read about hoe wonderful Jesus is, and who He is, we should be sorrowful that when Jesus came to His own, they did not receive Him. WE rejected Him before we received Him.

When we think about this Great man Jesus, it seems right to be sorrowful for what HE went through. But precisely because Jesus was more than a man, because He was Immanuel, Jesus lets them (and us) know His death should invoke tears for ourselves and what awaits us if we don’t turn to Him. 

I love that phrase “Daughters of Jerusalem.”

No woman mentioned in the New Testament was an enemy of Jesus, and Jesus was never an enemy of womankind! He dignified and elevated women – but here He says something somber to this group of women!

Daughters of Jerusalem occurs only here in the New Testament, but 7 times in the 8 chapter Song of Solomon and 3 times in Isaiah the prophet.

Here’s my favorite:

“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up or awaken love until it’s time.”                                                                                  -Song of Solomon 2:7; 3:5; 8:4

In Isaiah 4 the reference takes on prophetic tones – Turn to Isaiah 4:2-4

Look back to Luke 23, verses 28-31

Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, blessed are the ones who never had kids in the first place, so they wouldn’t see those children suffer the unthinkable.

Jesus quotes Hosea in verse 30, “Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills “Cover us.”

In Revelation chapter 6 we learn that the Hosea 10:8 prophecy also will relate to the awful time of Great Tribulation before Christ’s return (13:34-35). But here Jesus is referring first to the Fall of Jerusalem coming in AD 70 (19:41-44; 21:5, 20-24; also Deut. 28:53-57).

Only Luke tells us about these words of Jesus, the only recorded statement of Jesus on the way to the cross. But 2 other times in Luke’s gospel Jesus speaks of the Fall of Jerusalem.

Read 19:41-44

Refer to the real possibility that if Israel had received Jesus in mass, He would have started His earthly rule after His resurrection.

All the Old Testament prophecies would have changed in that moment. But God knows all, so He knew they would reject Jesus.

The 1st century historian Josephus gives fascinating details of the Fall of Jerusalem:

The terrible infighting between 3, then 2 Jewish factions inside the walls. How in fighting each other they squandered Jerusalem’s surplus of food.

The overwhelming power of the Roman legions under General Titus.

The starvation happening inside the city – food stolen by men from women and children. Eventually even babies being eaten when there was no other food.

Of how the conquerors became so enraged at the Jews they burned the Temple and dup up all of its massive stones, leaving only the Western wall of the Temple complex standing.

Horrible days indeed. Only what the coming Antichrist does will be worse.

Alas, it would be the women and children who would suffer the most, a fact supported by history. The Romans attempted to starve the Jews into submission, and hungry men, defending their city, took food from their suffering wives and children and even killed and ate their own flesh and blood.                             -Warren Wiersbe

Look again at verse 31

“For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”

Jerusalem with Jesus is the green wood; Jerusalem without Jesus will be dry wood – it will burn right up without Jesus there.

My recent experience with dry wood!!! It went up fast!

Now let’s put what Jesus is talking about in the perspective of 4 one-time only offers God made in history (Adam & Eve; Israel as it entered the Promised Land; Israel when Jesus ‘visited’; God the Father to God the Son). 

Adam and Eve - Get it right and there will be no sin on earth                   BLEW IT

Israel upon entrance to Promised Land – get it right, Garden of Eden like conditions                                                                                                                 BLEW IT

Israel when Christ came the first time – receive Him, somehow His earthly reign could have begun                                                                                                  BLEW IT

Oh but there was one more, not with an imperfect first Adam or an Imperfect Israel, let alone an Imperfect church.

God the Father to God the Son: “Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.”   -Psalm 2:8

Father tells Christ – If perfect life, then substitute death, I will have you rule on a new earth from Jerusalem over all who receive you                  NAILED IT!

Don ‘t weep for Me, Jesus said!

Jesus is not looking for our tears, He is looking for our faith.

Weep over your own sins, turn from them to Jesus Christ. Receive His forgiveness!

He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him. But to all who died receive Him, he gives them the right to become children of God.

Like Simeon said, This child is destined for the fall and rising of many is Israel. Mary, a sword will pierce your own soul also. And our!

Refuse the salvation Jesus offers, and you will receive the wrath your sins deserve.

Receive Jesus, and you will receive salvation instead of wrath.

Sinner’s Prayer