Luke 23:27-28 “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.’”
What kind of people were there? Some of them were utterly rebellious. They were Jesus’ enemies. They had plotted his end and orchestrated his trial and execution. Among them were the priests and Pharisees we later hear mocking Christ while he is hanging on the cross. They hated Jesus. They were only too eager to get rid of him–to finally see him die.
Some following to the cross were little more than curiosity seekers. As horrible as a crucifixion is, as severe as the suffering may be, these people had a twisted, morbid interest in going to see someone die. They were not the only ones of their kind. When executions were performed in public in our own country years ago, they always drew crowds. People have a strange interest in seeing someone breath their last, the gorier the better. Isn’t that why violence still draws ratings on television? Isn’t that why slasher movies do well that the box office? It is part of the twisted and perverted nature of fallen humanity to find painful deaths entertaining.
Then there were these women of Jerusalem. It was not wrong to feel sorry for Jesus. But who was being served by their display? They were not leading anyone to confess faith in Jesus and stand up for him. They stopped short of objecting to the injustice he suffered. Feeling sorry for Christ doesn’t save anyone.
Do you see why Jesus says, “…do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children”? This collection of people following him was a collection of the most spiritually privileged people on earth. These people, of this nation, had been the closest people to God. They lived in the shadow of the temple in the holy city of Jerusalem. God chose them to be his own.
Still, what do we find among the most spiritually advantaged people in the world? Hatred of God. Open rebellion. Twisted and perverted minds. Weakness and sentimentality at best. They had a better reason to cry than the pitiful sight of Jesus in front of them. So do we. “Weep for yourselves,” Jesus says. Weep tears of repentance. Cry over the depth of your sin. Go and weep bitterly, like Peter did after he denied Jesus the night before.
Then remember why Jesus was there. The heaviest thing Jesus was carrying through the streets of Jerusalem was not his cross. His greatest pain was not his bleeding wounds. His burden and his pain were our sins–our hatred, our perversion, our weakness. He carried these as our substitute.
Don’t pity him, then. Believe in him! Be certain your sins have been forgiven. Your guilt has been removed! He carries his cross through the streets of Jerusalem to the place of his execution to free us from suffering as he did for our sins.
Then we are seeing this scene the way he wants. Then we are not looking at Jesus as an object of pity. He is our heroic Savior. He carries his cross for you.