Reading: Luke 23:26-49
Jesus is exhausted. He has been beaten, abandoned, and is carrying the instrument of his torture and death along the Via Dolorosa. What was normally a great spectacle is striking horror into the hearts of some women, who are weeping as they watch.
But rather than fixing his eyes on the task ahead, Jesus shifts his gaze to these women. “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”
What must have gone through their minds? If anyone has the right to be mourned over, it is the innocent man carrying the cross to his horrible death. If anyone should be wept for, it is Jesus, right?
This scene reveals the character of Jesus. He was not just a man enduring the fate of a criminal unjustly. He was a man who did so willingly, even though, just the night before, he was asking his Father to remove this fate from him.
Jesus wasn’t carrying the cross to his death because of the sentence of the authorities. He was convinced that this was the will of his Father—and therefore it was best. And that these people were somehow worth it. And so, out of his immense compassion, Jesus turned to these women and his heart broke for them.
Jesus is called the man of sorrows, but not only because he was terribly mistreated. He was also sorrowful over lost sheep – broken, deceived, hard-hearted sinners. This was the character of Jesus Christ. This is the heart of our Savior.
Do we let our hearts break for others—even when we are in pain ourselves? Or do we dwell in places of self-centeredness and stare straight ahead, just finishing the task ahead?
The power of the crucifixion is not just the physical pain that Jesus endured. It is the way that Jesus accepted, submitted and bore this horrible death. Woe to us if we see Jesus on the cross as only the death of his body. No, it was about dying to himself and living out the will of the Father in deep compassion and grace. May we, too, be willing to look on others with compassion and grace, knowing we have not deserved to receive these from Jesus, but depend on them for our very lives.
Written by Melissa Zaldivar