Encounter with The Innocent Part VI
Jesus is now on the road to Calvary, after having been awake for about 24 hours and going through a kangaroo court, being lead back and forth through the streets from standing different officials. Now that His trial is finished and Pilate has succumb to the will of the people we now find Jesus walking the long road through Jerusalem to His execution for doing nothing but showing mercy on the nation of Isreal and being the perfect and Righteous example and Picture of God toward His own people.
As Jesus has been arrested and going through this mockery of a sinful court system we have found that Jesus is truly the Innocent One and there have been so many people that have encountered Him throughout this at this point about 12 hour period. The religious leaders have encountered the Innocent One and have had their guilt exposed. The Gentile rulers have encountered the Innocent One and found that this man truly is Innocent. Even a passerby has happened across Jesus and being an observer of the Innocent One, he was pressed into being a participant in bringing Jesus to the cross. Jesus being physically weak to carry the cross Himself yet the only One Spiritually strong enough to take the sin of all mankind.
This is what it means for Jesus to be innocent and when people encounter the Innocent One they either observers or active participants in following Him. Now as we continue this morning we will once again meet some people who encounter the Innocent one this time as we examine this next encounter we will see an encounter with the Innocent One causes people to grieve coming Judgment.
We will see this as we look at Luke 23:27-31;
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?”
As we continue on the road we see very clearly Jesus’ execution was not private, it was very public. Crowds would gather to watch those who were on their death march through the street. Luke tells us here that “following Him was a large crowd of people” so this crowd was here to follow Jesus, for whatever reason, whether it was because they were sympathetic to Him and were sad to see Him die or sympathetic to the religious leaders and want to follow in mockery and curiosity to see His fate. Regardless Jesus drew a crowd.
Now within this crowd there were women who were, as it seems in the text sympathetic toward Jesus because Luke points out for us there were women among the crowd who were “mourning and lamenting.” Now these women who are mourning and lamenting are more then likely women who have been touched or affected by Jesus’ teaching in this passed week. They are following behind Him and it is very obvious they are grieving the judgment that is coming upon Jesus. Many times the mourning process involved putting on sackcloth which was typically black and it was as it sounds a bag that was used to carry items in. It was a public display of sorrow and sympathy for someone who has died or in this case one who is on His death march.
As they are going along the road to Golgotha weeping for Jesus and the judgment that has just been placed on Him we find right away that this sympathy is misguided, and Jesus points out to the women just that as we now look at Misguided Sorrow.
We find this in Luke 23:28; Luke writes, “But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” Here is something very powerful that I don’t want you to miss. Jesus is on the road to Calvary, it is His death March and He has just endured such a severe unjust treatment by the religious leaders and the civil leaders of His day. He has just gone through a long night of no to little sleep, an agonizing time in the garden in prayer, being beaten, whipped and smacked in the head with a reed He has a crown of thorns on His head and He is so exhausted He can’t even carry His own cross. Staggering along the road and He still turns to His followers and what does He tell them, “stop weeping for Me.”
Jesus knows where He is going and He knows what He is about to do. He also knows what is in store for the people of Jerusalem and for the nation of Israel as a whole. His compassion for people is not only demonstrated on the cross but He is compassionate all the way to the cross. He doesn’t want these women to weep for Him, He wants them to weep for themselves and for their children. The sorrow they are expressing is in the wrong One and in the wrong Judgment. Jesus’ judgment will end in a resurrection of the Body for Him and in so doing it will mean a resurrection of the Body for all who place their faith in Him. What He tell this women is their sorrow is misguided the ones they are to be grieving is themselves and their children because a greater judgment is in store.
We also find here these women are not named specifically they are just called the “Daughters of Jerusalem.” This is significant also. These women are women that live in the Holy City. These women have more then likely listen to Jesus in the passed week, whether in the temple or in another location where Jesus taught and they have found His teaching to be very powerful and life changing. These women have chosen to follow Him and now just as they are being impacted by the grace in His teaching and the mercy in the way He treated women now He is being put to death. This is yet another demonstration of how Jesus not only demonstrated the love of God and how He taught with great authority and power. It is also a demonstration of how much people wanted a radical change in the way they approached God and a radical change in how they were treated by the religious leaders and the Roman government. They wanted a relief from oppression. True oppression and real oppression. The oppression they were seeking relief from was an oppression being brought on by man, some of it disguised with religious overtones. But this oppression was only an oppression that was the out working of true oppression, sin.
Jesus didn’t want these women to cry for Him because He was going to the cross to abolish the oppression of sin. The problem is in His abolishment of sin or at least the means of His abolishing this oppression was going to bring a harsher physical oppression on the land. For Jesus to die on the cross and to die for the sin of all mankind this means He had to be rejected as the King of the Jews, meaning He had to be rejected by His own people. Now this doesn’t mean God has cut Israel off it only means that in this time we find the church which is a combination of Isreal and the Gentiles. Keep in mind it was not only Isreal who rejected Jesus it was the Gentile rulers as well, being in a sense representatives for the rest of humanity reject Jesus.
This rejection of Jesus by the Isrealites has caused a rift to happen. Their rejection of Jesus causes judgment. Their is a punishment that is coming on the nation for its rejection of their righteous and perfect King. There rejection of their God once again. If you recall God set up Isreal is a theocracy, God being King. In 1 Samuel the people cried out to the prophet Samuel that they wanted a King like all the other nations. So God provided them with a human king but not without warning them this human kind was going to take their land, their animals, their daughters. God as King, always provides perfectly, man as king takes for himself.
The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. “Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. “Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.” So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king. He said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. “He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. “He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. “He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. “He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. “He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. “He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. “Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
The nation rejected God as King, and they continued to reject God even with a king to the point were God banished them into exile in Babylon. The temple was destroyed and God’s glory left the earth. God, however, is merciful and faithful and He kept a remnant, after 70 years in exile God sent His people back to Isreal and they rebuilt the temple. Not to its former glory but it was rebuilt never-the-less. This is the temple Jesus had been teaching and preaching in. There is punishment that comes from rejecting God, it is manifested in the physical world against Isreal, from having wicked oppressive kings to wicked oppressive spiritual leaders. Now as they are rejecting Jesus and are sending Him to the cross the women should not be weeping for Him but they need to weep for what is about to happen to the nation.
Judgment is coming and they should Weep for a Sever Judgment;
Weep for a Severe Judgment
Weep for a Severe Judgment
As we continue reading verses 29 and 30, Jesus paints the picture of the severity of the Judgment that is about to come. Look with me at verses 29 and 30; Jesus continues, “ 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.’” He is telling them very days are coming, days when people will say it is better for a woman to be barren or for a woman to not have had any children at all. This is a very intense statement. If you understand the Jewish culture you would know that being barren is not a blessing, it is a stigma, it is actual viewed as a punishment from God because of wickedness. For Jesus to turn and tell them a day is coming when being barren is viewed as a blessing and not a curse is a big deal. It will be a harsh and difficult time.
In fact as Jesus continues in His prophetic statement here we find that people will be begging for death. That is the gist of the quote, ‘Say to the mountains fall on us and to the hills cover us.’ The times will be so bad they will beg for death. Many commentators believe Jesus is talking about the destruction of the temple during the Jewish revolt of 70 A.D. which it is very possible. I believe the destruction of the temple had a lot to do with Israel’s rejection of their Messiah. It also has a lot to do with God’s providential plan to bring about the consummation of all things.
I am sure the destruction of the temple for the second time was very devastating to the nation of Israel. It is possible that they could have seen this as the end for them and wished they were dead. Still even though I believe Jesus was seeing this and a part of this prophecy came true I also believe there is a more severe Judgment coming which Jesus is pointing to. Two severe Judgments that are coming. The first is the physical Judgment that will come during the time of the tribulation. During this time there will be 3 1/2 years of peace, then after the leader of the world suffers a head wound he will be possessed by the antichrist and it will literally become 3 1/2 years of hell on earth. This will be a more severe judgment where people will actually beg to die because of the severity of it. In fact this tribulation is marked by a peace treaty signed by Israel and their enemies and they will rebuild their temple on the temple mount. This will also be a time for Isreal to turn to God before His wrath is fully poured out on them. That is why the church will not go through the tribulation because God’s wrath has already been poured out on Jesus and the Church is the Bride of Christ it is for those who have accepted His forgiveness for their sins. They will be raptured and they will not go through the great and terrible tribulation.
Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
This severe judgment comes on the nation and the world for rejecting Jesus. It is a physical punishment but the serve judgment that should scare everyone and should motivate true Christ followers to give the gospel is the judgment that will happen at the end of the age when all will stand before the throne of the Great Judge Jesus Christ and answer for their rejection of Him as King. Those who have placed their faith in Him and who follow after Him in this life don’t have to worry about being judged in this way, God’s wrath for those who trust in Jesus has been taken by Jesus. This doesn’t mean you can go on sinning but it does mean we have a High Priest who is seated at God’s right hand and we can confess our sins to Him. When the Spirit convicts you of sin don’t fight Him off or fight off Jesus, confess it and mortify it and move on.
Now for those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior, they will stand in judgment before Jesus. Their lives will be called into account, and their sin will be judged and they will not enter into heaven but instead be thrown into the lake of fire. Separated from God for all eternity. It will not be a party, it will be a living torture for all eternity, there will be no light, because the One who is light will no longer be before you. There will only be pain and anguish. Not an eternity that I wish on anyone. This is the more severe judgment.
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.
Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.
Jesus even as He walks to the cross to die for those who have just rejected Him, He still demonstrates compassion on them by providing this prophetic warning. This is in store for anyone who has rejected Jesus and if Jesus in the midst of being rejected was still compassionate and provides a warning of severe Judgment should we as Christ followers do the same.
Judgment is Unavoidable
Judgment is Unavoidable
Look with me at verse 31. This is an interesting verse, Jesus says here, “For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” The issue with this verse comes up with the word ‘they’ who does the ‘they’ refer to. Is it the Romans who have sentenced Jesus who is the green tree to death and now will do even worse to the dry who are the Israelites. Or is it the Jews who sentenced Jesus to death but then who are the dry. Since we are looking at Judgment and the only true Judge of the world and the only One who has any control over this entire situation is God, the they actually refers to God. This is a highly viewed and accepted position.
In fact Luke has used it this way a few times.
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.
The they is a reference to God and it makes sense when you look at this because if God didn’t spare His own Son and sent Him to die to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind what makes you think He will spare those who reject Him and try to make it to heaven their own way. Judgment is unavoidable you can either accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and God’s judgment for you being poured our on Him on the cross. Or you can go ahead and live in this world rejecting the King and take the judgment yourself. I would rather have someone else take the judgment for me then take it myself.
We should weep for Jerusalem we should also weep for those who have rejected Jesus. If we are weeping and have sorrow for them we should take that sorrow and put it into action. Are you giving the Gospel are you pointing people to Jesus are you showing compassion toward those you know by telling them judgment is unavoidable. This is not a message we can keep to ourselves. People are in need of hope in this ever changing world it is devastating and we need to point them to the only constant they can ever have, Jesus Christ and the wrath He took for everyone. People need to know this truth because they one day will face judgment.