Scripture: Luke 23:26 As they led (Jesus) away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are surely 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 this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Observation: There is are some interesting reversals in this passage. Jesus had been beaten, mocked, and sentenced to die on a cross – at the crowd’s insistence. Shortly thereafter, the crowd is “wailing” for him. These are presumably the same people who demanded he be crucified. That’s weird. A change of heart maybe?
Then, while the crowd wailed for Jesus, Jesus began to wail for them. Beginning in verse 28 Jesus spoke of the coming destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D – some 35 to 40 years after his death. The Romans laid siege to the city, cutting off their food supply. It must have been horrible for mothers to watch their children suffer. In this context “Blessed are the barren…” makes sense. Barren women don’t have to watch their children die the slow death of starvation.
Application: Honestly, I’m not sure there’s much here to apply to life. I chose this passage because I found it interesting and wanted to study it more. I have several bible commentaries and encyclopedias to help me understand scripture passages like this one, that are hard to understand. If you don’t, I highly recommend it. Such resources make reading the bible a far richer experience. I happen to use electronic resources from http://www.logos.com but there are many others.
Prayer: Lord, if we’re honest, sometimes the bible is confusing. I’ve been studying your word intently for over 20 years now and I still get stumped on a regular basis. Send your Holy Spirit to teach us what you have to say to us through the scriptures. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.