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THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS

 

WEEP NOT, BUT WEEP

Luke 23:27-31

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.      The term “Via Dolorosa” is not familiar to many in the church.

1.       It is not found in the Bible.

2.       The words mean:  “way of sorrow”

3.       The Via Dolorosa is the traditional route taken by our Lord on His way from Pilate’s judgment hall to Golgotha, or Calvary, the place of crucifixion.

 

B.      A couple of interesting events happened on His “Way of Sorrow.”

1.       Simon of Cyrene was compelled to carry the cross of Christ.

2.       Jesus spoke words to a company of women that He referred to as “daughters of Jerusalem.”

 

C.      Luke is the only writer to record this second incident.  In our lesson, we want to examine His interesting encounter found in Luke 23:27-31.  We have entitled our lesson:  “Weep Not, but Weep.”

 

And there followed him a great company of people, and of woman, which also bewailed and lamented him.  But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

 

I.                   HURTING WOMEN (Luke 23:27)

 

And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed him and lamented him.

 

A.      The arrest and trial of Jesus had been rumored throughout the streets of Jerusalem.

1.       This had brought the crowds.

2.       They now followed Jesus to the place or execution.

 

B.      A group of woman followed him with great lamentation. 

1.       Who were these women?

a.       Most believe that they were the women who had followed Jesus and served him during His earthly ministry.

b.       We know that Mary, the Lord’s mother, was at the foot of the cross (John 19:26-27).

c.        Matthew 27:5-56 gives us the names of other women at the cross.

 

And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:  among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

 

d.       Some believe that these were different women because Jesus addresses them as the “daughters of Jerusalem.”  Since Jerusalem was the capital city of the Jews, any Jewish woman could have been called a daughter of Jerusalem.

2.       What were these women doing?

a.       They bewailed and lamented the Savior.

1)     Bewailed:  literally beat themselves

2)    Lamented:  literally wept aloud for Him

b.       Some believe that these women displayed the Jewish “death wail.”

3.       Three points of interest:

a.       The lament of these women stands in sharp contrast to the cries at the trial of Jesus, which said:  “Crucify him.  Crucify him” (Luke 23:21).

b.       These women were the only ones recorded weeping for Jesus as He moved toward Calvary.

c.        The tears which they shed were legitimate tears.

1)      Tears of hopelessness.  There was nothing they could do to help their Master.

2)      Tears of sorrow.  The one they loved was hurting and about to die.

4.       The picture of these women is the one redeeming trait found on the Via Dolorosa.

 

II.                THE HONEST WORDS (Luke 23:28)

 

But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

 

A.      These women captured the attention of the suffering Savior.  He even stopped to converse with the women who mourned for Him.

 

B.      His words to them redirected the course of their tears.  Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

 

C.      Some think Jesus’ words were a rebuke.  Not so.  It was the divine side of Jesus honestly perceiving the situation at hand.

1.       Isaiah 55:8-9

 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord, For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

2.       Weep not for me.

a.       These women did not need to weep for the Christ for He was going to a glorious victory through death, not for Himself, but for others.

b.       Hebrews 2:9

 

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

 

3.       Weep for yourselves, and for your children.

a.       Sin was what brought Jesus to the moment at hand.

b.       Sin was what was to cause the events to come in the future.

c.        The sins of the world, and especially, the sins of the Jewish people should have caused the streets of Jerusalem to be flooded with tears.

d.       James 4:9

 

Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep:  let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

 

e.        Perhaps we need to pause and ask:  Are we weeping in the wrong direction?  Should we be weeping for ourselves?

III.             THE HORRIBLE WARNING (Luke 23:29-31)

 

For, behold, the days are coming…

 

A.      In Jesus’ mind, the future shined brightly.  He saw down the corridors of time to the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

B.      Three points are set forth by the Master:

1.       The unusual beatitude (Luke 23:29).

 

For, behold the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

 

a.       In Judaism, it was a shame and a reproach for a woman to be barren.  It was believed that the women who had children had the favor of God upon them (Ps. 127:3).

b.       Jesus, however, says that the time is coming when they will say:  “Blessed are the barren…” (Matt. 24:19).

c.        When the Roman armies came upon the city of Jerusalem, it was a horrific event.  It was made worse for those with children.  Feeding, clothing, and protecting children were difficult tasks.  Thus Jesus said that when that day arrived, one was blessed to be barren.

2.       The ugly desire (Luke 23:30).

 

Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

 

a.       The siege upon Jerusalem was slow and deliberate.  It would take much time for the walls to be penetrated.  Prior to its fall, the city was closed with food and water supplies completely shut off by the Romans (See Luke 19:43-44).

b.       The inhabitants of Jerusalem would desire a sudden cataclysmic death by being covered by the hills and mountains.

c.        NOTE:  Things would be so bad that death was preferable to living.

3.       The ultimate truth (Luke 23:31).

 

For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

 

a.       Jesus contrasts a green tree with a dry tree.  This is a common contrast for righteousness and wickedness (See Ps. 1:3; Jer. 5:14; Jude 12).

b.       Jesus is the green tree.

1)      He is innocent, pure, and holy.

2)      Here was the Son of God in the presence of the Jews.  Yet, they rejected Him.  This was the time of the green tree.

c.        The Jews are the dry tree.

1)      Once Jesus departed, the Jews would continue to rebel against God.  They would continue to reject the Savior.  They would even persecute the church.

2)      They would be  wicked, fruitless, and unprofitable.

3)      Their end would be even worse (Mark 13:19).

 

For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.

 

4)      Jesus could see this end.  He knew it would come because of their sins.  Thus, He exhorted the women to weep for themselves and their children.

CONCLUSION

 

A.      The Fall of Jerusalem was a judgment of God.  It was typical of God’s final judgment.

 

B.      If the judgment upon the Holy City was bad, what will the final judgment be like upon the sins of the ungodly?

 

C.      II Thessalonians 1:7-9; II Peter 3:10

 

And for you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.