Stations of the Cross: 4

Station 4: Jesus Speaks to the Women

Luke 23: 27-31 (ESV)

The Crucifixion

27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 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!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

As Christ struggled along the road toward that awful place of death, He saw a group of women among the crowd following Him, already grieving at His impending death. He had heard this wailing many times before at funerals and tragic events. But now, they mourned for Him.

Christ had always shown equal compassion to women He had encountered across the years. He had always seemed to understand the unique burdens that women bore in a world and a culture that pushed them to the margins of society. So here, as He bore the most unimaginable pain of body and heart, He stopped to speak to them.

Christ was about to die, and yet He was more concerned with others than with His own suffering and death.

But His words were strange and seemed out of place on this road of sorrow. They had a prophetic ring to them as if He was still trying to tell people something important they could not quite grasp, or that perhaps they did not really want to hear. Christ spoke of even darker days, of far worse things to come upon the people. How could things get worse?

Jesus often spoke of repentance, calling the people to turn from their wicked ways and accept the coming of the Kingdom of God. Many times He criticized the religious leaders and those who thought themselves righteous, warning they would bring destruction upon the people and the land. Don’t you remember that once Christ even spoke of the destruction of the temple? But no one really believed that was going to happen. God had always been with them, and surely Jesus would not let such a terrible thing happen to His people.

There Christ was on the path of sorrow stumbling toward His death.  No one had thought that would happen either. Maybe Christ understood more than we had realized. Maybe He saw something the people had refused to believe. Maybe they were not as righteous as they had thought. Maybe they rejected repentance, not because they did not need it, but because they needed it more than they dared admit.

Was that what Christ meant by these strange words? Was it possible that His death was only the beginning of things for which to weep? Was it possible that the people’s refusal to repent and change the way they lived caused these beginnings of sorrow? Was their own sin and refusal to confess really the reason Christ was on that path?

I would like to think that I would have repented.

I would like to think I might have confessed my sins and stood righteous before God. I would have rather played the part of the righteous follower. I would rather have wept for you, Jesus. I do not want to weep for myself and the pain I bring to others because of my failures and sin. Yet, how long has it been since I have shed tears for my own failures, for my own sins?

Have I really been honest enough with God about who I am?

Prayer: O Lord, forgive my unwillingness to repent, to confess all that I am before you.  Help me go beyond the repentance mouthed in words of false piety, to sweep away all the facades of who I try so hard to be before others, and recall who I really am inside. Help me once again stand before God with a bare and open heart. Help me not just to repent in words, but to put that repentance into action in everything I am and do. O Lord, give me the gift of tears to weep for my own failures, for my sins, for the pain I bring to others, and to live the fruits of repentance. How great are You Lord, that you would forgive me.

Song of Worship: Great Are You Lord

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only
And all the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord
*Portions of the text have been adapted from public domain guides from across multiple denominations.

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