December 13 - Luke 23:26-32

Friday, December 13, 2013

Luke 23:26-31 – The Path to the Cross

The Roman soldiers led Jesus away. While he was required to carry his own cross, one more part of the process of humiliating and destroying a criminal, his earlier beating had made it nearly impossible.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus defines a disciple as who takes up his own cross. When they heard the teaching, the disciples knew that criminals were required to bear their own crosses. They didn't understand that Jesus was expressing the state of their own lives.

Cyrene is what we know of as modern Libya. Simon was a Jew who had arrived in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. He had been outside the city walls and was coming in for the day. The Roman guard had every right to press him into service. They could do anything to the citizenry of Jerusalem that they so desired. They placed the crossbeam of the cross on Simon’s shoulders and demanded that he follow Jesus through the streets to the place where he would be crucified.

The many people who were not at Herod’s residence or at Pilate’s location were in the streets, crying and weeping for the coming death of Jesus. These people were not just curious bystanders, but were sincerely distressed at what was about to happen.

His words to them, calling on them to weep for themselves and for their children due to the coming disaster bring to mind Jesus’ words in 19:41-44 when he wept over Jerusalem. Luke is nothing if not a master story teller, bringing to mind all of the events of Jesus’ life over and over again in the mind of his reader.

The quotation from Hosea 10:8 crying out for the mountains to fall on us and the hills to cover us, begs for them to put us out of our misery. This prophetic statement is followed by a warning of the fire of judgment. Fire burns quickly when the wood is dry, but much more slowly when it is green and fresh. If God has not spared his own Son from such a terrible death, how much worse will it be for a sinful nation when God’s wrath is let loose upon it.