16th April 2011

Don’t Cry For Me

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.’”
Luke 23:27-28 (NIV UK)

I get emotional when I think of how Jesus suffered for me.

Jerusalem was normally packed with pilgrims at Passover time. The historian Josephus estimates that well over 2 million people would have been crushed into the city, which was small by today’s standards. Maybe his figures are exaggerated but not hugely so. Luke says a large number of people followed the spectacle of Christ’s suffering as he made his way to the crucifixion site.

Pilate had Jesus flogged, and the soldiers had stuck a crown of thorns on his head, and beat him up some more. He was so weak that they asked a passing stranger to help carry the heavy, wooden crossbeam, which criminals themselves had to drag along the last stretch to the waiting upright stake. It was at this point that some women began to wail loudly upon seeing Jesus and how he bled and how disfigured he was. I wonder who the women were. Were some his followers, like Mary Magdalene, Salome, Martha, her sister Mary, etc? Were they joined by others in the bustling crowd? I have come across Christians who, when they think of the plight of our Lord, weep uncontrollably, as if joining in this chorus.

Jesus, however, said “do no weep for me”. Why not? Jesus pointed to another thought. His suffering for us, great through it was, is only a precursor to the suffering of a world that rejects the grace of God. Perhaps we become hardened when we see too many images of starving children, wounded soldiers and civilians, or victims of catastrophe. We switch off, both emotionally and literally as we flick to another TV channel. A world in ignorance of grace. Weep, says Jesus, for yourselves and your children.

Love Jesus, and feel for the world that ignores him.

Prayer
Great God and Father of mankind, how your son suffered for us, and how great is the suffering of the world without him. We pray for the world, that people everywhere may come to know your grace. In Jesus’ name
Amen

Study by James Henderson

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