And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.…
I suppose He meant, "If I, who am no rebel against Caesar, suffer so, how will those suffer whom the Romans take in actual rebellion at the siege of Jerusalem?" And He meant next to say, "If I who am perfectly innocent, must nevertheless be put to such a death as this, what will become of the guilty?" If when fires are raging in the forest, the green trees full of sap and moisture crackle like stubble in the flame, how will the old dry trees burn, which are already rotten to the core and turned to touch-wood, and so prepared as fuel for the furnace. If Jesus suffers who hath no sin, but is full of the life of innocence, and the sap of holiness, how will they suffer who have long been dead in sin, and are rotten with iniquity? As Peter puts it in another place, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be sayed, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" Note well that the sufferings of our Lord, though in some respects far beyond all conceivable woes, have yet some points about them in which they differ with advantage from the miseries of lost souls. For, first, our Lord knew that He was innocent, and therefore His righteousness upheld Him. Whatever He suffered He knew that He deserved none of it: He had no stings of conscience, nor agonies of remorse. Now, the sting of future punishment will lie in the indisputable conviction that it is well deserved. The finally impenitent will be tormented by their own passions, which will rage within them like an inward hell; but our Lord had none of this. There was no evil in Him, no lusting after evil, no self-seeking, no rebellion of heart, no anger, or discontent. Pride, ambition, greed, malice, revenge, these are the fuel of hell's fire. Men's selves, not devils, are their tormentors; their inward lusts are worms that never die, and fires that never can be quenched: there could be none of this in our Divine Lord. Again, lost souls hate God and love sin, but Christ ever loved God and hated sin. Now, to love evil is misery; when undisguised and rightly understood sin is hell. Our Lord Jesus knew that every pang He suffered was for the good of others: He endured cheerfully, because He saw that He was redeeming a multitude that no man can number from going down to the pit: but there is no redeeming power about the sufferings of the lost, they are not helping any one, nor achieving a benevolent design. The great God has good designs in their punishment, but they are strangers to any such a purpose. Our Lord had a reward before Him, because of which He endured the cross, despising the shame; but the finally condemned have no prospect of reward nor hope of rising from their doom. How can they expect either? He was full of hope, they are full of despair. "It is finished" was for Him, but there is no "It is finished" for them. Their sufferings, moreover, are self-caused, their sin was their own. tie endured agonies because others had transgressed, and He willed to save them. They torment themselves with sin, to which they cleave, but it pleased the Father to bruise the Son, and the necessity for His bruising lay not in Himself, but in others.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.