Reading: Luke 23:26-32
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?” Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. [NASB1995®]
Jesus is led to the cross, to death. The Jewish leaders have fulfilled their goal. But as I read this passage I am amazed to see how Jesus affects the lives of those who share, in some way, his journey to the cross.
Simon of Cyrene: We cannot say that this Simon who is mentioned here was a follower of Jesus, because Luke shows us that he came from the field and that they “placed” the cross on him. However, in the Gospel of Mark (Mar 15:21) it is added that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus. This seems to show that these two people were known by the readers of his Gospel. Even Paul names one Rufus (Rom 16:13) and his mother (we cannot say with certainty whether it is the same Rufus that Mark mentions). But it is evident that the story of this Simon did not end there, since his sons are part of the church. This “fortuitous” meeting made Simon a privileged witness to the cross, and brought salvation to his home.
Sometimes we don’t understand God’s plans, but we trust that He is working, even in the smallest details.
Daughters of Jerusalem: A group of women accompany Jesus, groaning and crying. They may be mourners (women who usually devoted themselves to mourning someone’s death) or women who are distraught because of the unfairness of Jesus’s punishment. What is striking, however, is that Jesus, only a few meters from his death, turns to them to comfort them and to call them to put their faith in Him. “Weep not for me,” he says, “but for yourselves.” When Jerusalem is destroyed, they will desire what in those days was a source of dishonor, sadness and even divorce: infertility.
If they treat Jesus, the righteous, in this way, what hope is there for the unjust?
The evildoers: Two evildoers, two criminals, are walking to their death just like Jesus. In just a few verses we will see the wonder of grace in one of them.
MEDITATE: Many are close to Jesus and the cross. Some get a glimpse of what is happening, while others ignore it. But it is on the cross that the destiny of every man is defined. We pray that our hearts may never remain indifferent before that Cross or Him who gives his life there.
Scripture quotation taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.