Luke 23:27
A great number of people followed Him, including women who kept mourning and wailing for Him.
Sermons
The Merciful Savior on the CrossR.M. Edgar Luke 23:26-46
Sympathy and SolicitudeW. Clarkson Luke 23:27-31
The Daughters of JerusalemThe Weekly PulpitLuke 23:27-31
The Grace of TearsW. Whyte.Luke 23:27-31
The Green Tree and the DryH. G. Guinness.Luke 23:27-31
The Miseries of Lost Souls Exceed Those of ChristC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 23:27-31
Weep for YourselvesJ. R. Andrews.Luke 23:27-31
Weep not for MeS. Martin.Luke 23:27-31
Wherefore Should I WeepC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 23:27-31


Before reaching Calvary an interesting and instructive incident occurred. Among the tumultuous crowd that surged round the soldiers and their victims were many women. These were better away, we are disposed to think, from a scene so brutal and so harrowing as this. But we will believe that something better than curiosity, that gratitude, that affection, that womanly pity, drew them, spite of their natural shrinking, to this last sad ending. By whatever motives impelled, they were certainly moved to strong compassion as they saw the Prophet of Nazareth, the great Healer and Teacher, led forth to die. Their loud laments did not fall on the ear of One too occupied with his own impending doom to hear and heed them. Our Lord made to these weeping women the reply which is here recorded, longer and fuller than we should have supposed the circumstances would allow. It suggests to us -

I. THAT HUMAN DISTRESS NEVER FAILS TO REACH AND TOUCH HIM. If there were any moments in his life when he might have been preoccupied, and might not have noticed the sounds of sorrow, it was this hour of his agony, this hour when the weight of the world's sin rested on his soul, when the great sacrifice was in the very act of being offered. Yet even then he heard and stopped to console the troubled. An appeal to Jesus Christ in circumstances of sorrow is never ill-timed.

II. THAT SUCH SYMPATHY WITH JESUS CHRIST IS ENTIRELY OUT OF PLACE. "Weep not for me." Some men speak and act as if it were appropriate to express sympathy with the Savior on account of his sufferings. It is, indeed, impossible to read the story of his last hours, and realize what it all meant, without having our sympathetic feeling very keenly quickened; but Jesus Christ does not ask that we should express to him, or to one another, our sympathy with him as One that then suffered. These sufferings are past; they have placed him upon the throne of the world; they have made brighter than ever his celestial crown, deeper than ever his heavenly joy. So far as we are concerned, and so far as they speak of our sin, they may well humble us; in so far as he is concerned, we rejoice with him that he "was perfected through suffering.'"

III. THAT A HOLY SOLICITUDE FOR OURSELVES AND OURS IS OFTEN THE MOST APPROPRIATE SENTIMENT. "Weep for yourselves, and for your children." We know well what reason these Jewish women had, both as patriots and as mothers, to be concerned for the fate that threatened their country and their homes. Our Lord certainly would not condemn, would not disparage, an unselfish sympathy. He who wept at Bethany, and whose law of love was the law that covered and inspired a gracious burden-bearing (Galatians 6:2), could not possibly do that. Indeed, we seldom stand nearer to his side than when we "weep with them that weep." But there are many times when we are tempted to be troubled by our brother's smaller difficulty instead of being concerned about our own much greater one. Do not be blind to the bodily pains or the circumstantial struggles of your neighbor; but look eagerly and earnestly to the rent which is opening in your own reputation, to the gap that is increasingly visible in your own consistency, to the fact that you are palpably descending the slope which leads down to spiritual ruin.

IV. THAT THERE ARE SAD EXTREMITIES OF EVIL WHEN NOTHING IS LEFT BUT A HOPELESS CRY. (Ver. 30.)

V. THAT SIN AND PUNISHMENT BECOME DEEPER AND NEARER AS TIME GOES ON. The green tree is exposed to the consuming fire; but the green tree in time becomes the dry, and how much more certain and more fierce then will be the devouring flame! The nation goes from bad to worse, from the worse to the worst; from dark to darker guilt, from condemnation to calamity. So does a human soul, unguided by heavenly truth and unguarded by holy principle. At any and every time in danger, its peril becomes continually greater as its guilt becomes constantly deeper. Go not one step further in the course of sin, in the way of worldliness, into the "far country" of forgetfullness. Each step is an approach to a precipice. Return on thy way without a moment's lingering. - C.







Daughters of Jerusalem.
The Weekly Pulpit.
I. WHY DID THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM WEEP?

1. He was innocent. All they had heard about Him was favourable.

2. He was benevolent. His gifts were uncommon and priceless. Wherever He went, He left behind Him the footprint of mercy.

3. He was the hope of the people. The glory had departed; the land was under a curse, and the people groaned under the Roman yoke. But Jesus, although opposed to every public demonstration in His favour, had, by His teaching and example, aroused the public aspiration.

II. WHY DID JESUS REFUSE THEIR SYMPATHY? — "Weep not for Me."

1. Weep not, My death is a necessity. It is not an accident, or the effect of unrestrained animosity, but the fulfilment of an old covenant, older than the earth or the heaven. Justice demands it before the prisoners of hope can come forth.

2. Weep not, I can bear it all. Hard as it may seem to bear the reproach as an evil-doer, and to suffer the enmity of those whom I have not offended, yet, my heart's desire is to suffer in the sinner's room.

3. Weep not, tears will avail nothing now. The plea of the tear is the most effective. Had the appeal of the tear been made before Pilate, humanly speaking, the evidence might have been taken, and the prisoner acquitted, but then it was too late. Weeping did not make the cross lighter, or the pains of death any the less.

4. Weep not, the course I am to take will ultimately wipe away all tears. The sorrow of to-day will be exchanged for peace and joy hereafter. The death on the cross will remove sorrow from the heart of the penitent, and tears will cease to flow.

III. WHICH, THEN, IS THE RIGHT CHANNEL OF TEARS? "Weep for yourselves and for your children." Sin is the cause of sorrow.

(The Weekly Pulpit.)

etc.: —

I. Let us consider them as addressed to that part of the multitude WHO HAD BELIEVED IN HIS DIVINE MISSION, and submitted to His authority. Their sorrow for our Lord did not spring from the proper source. His truest disciples partook of the common misapprehensions of their countrymen about the nature of Messiah's kingdom. Yet sorrow was their proper mood of feeling. And why, my friends, should they have wept for themselves and their children, in looking upon the sufferings of their Lord?

1. We reply, because their sins occasioned Christ's sufferings. It were well for us oftener to weep thus for ourselves.

2. They should have wept for themselves and their children, because they should no more hear Christ's instructions.

II. ANOTHER CLASS, BESIDES TRUE BELIEVERS, MINGLED IN THE CROWD, WHICH ATTENDED CHRIST TOWARDS CALVARY. Let us consider the application of our text to them. It was the natural feelings, which prompt us to take part in any circumstances with the distressed, and which are pained, when innocence, or, at least, benevolence is oppressed, that caused their tears to pour down. Bight and worthy were these emotions, so far as they went; but they had deeper cause for sorrow than anything they thought of when they wept. They should have wept for themselves and for their children.

1. Because away from them were about to be taken the word of salvation, the admonitions and warnings of the Lord.

2. They should have wept for themselves and for their children, because this act by which Christ was taken away would speedily bring judgment upon their nation. To this our Lord had most express reference, as He showed by the language which follows the text.

(S. Martin.)

These words are especially noteworthy, because they constitute the last connected discourse of the Saviour before He died. All that He said afterwards was fragmentary and mainly of the nature of prayer. A sentence to John, and to His mother, and to the dying thief: just a word or two looking downward, but for the most part He uttered broken sentences, which flew upwards on the wings of strong desire.

I. He said to the weeping women, "WEEP NOT." There are some cold, calculating expositors who make it out that our Lord reproved these women for weeping, and that there was something wrong in their sorrow — I think they call it "the sentimental sympathy" of these kind souls. Blame these women! No, bless them again and again. It was the one redeeming trait in the dread march along the Via Dolorosa; let it not be dreamed that Jesus could have censured those who wept for Him. These gentle women appear in a happy contrast to the chief priests, with their savage malice, and to the thoughtless multitude with their fierce cry of "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" They seem to me to have shown a noble courage in daring to express their sympathy with one whom everybody else hunted to death.

1. There can be nothing ill about the weeping of these women, and therefore let us proceed to say, first, that their sorrow was legitimate and well founded. It is little marvel that they should weep and bewail when they saw the innocent one about to die.

2. I think, too, that this weeping on the part of the women was a very hopeful emotion. It showed some tenderness of heart, and tenderness of heart, though it be but natural, may often serve as a groundwork upon which better and holier and more spiritual feelings may be placed.

3. Having said this much, we now add that on our Lord's part such sorrow was fitly repressed; because after all, though naturally good, it is not more than natural, and falls short of spiritual excellence. It is no proof that you are truly saved, because you are moved to great emotions whenever you hear the details of the crucifixion, for the Bulgarian atrocities excited you equally as much. I think it good that you should be moved, as I have said before, but it is only naturally and not spiritually good. This feeling, too, may stand in the way of something a great deal better. Jesus would not have these women weep for one thing, because they were to weep for another thing which far more seriously demanded their weeping. Ye need not weep because Christ died one-tenth so much as because your sins rendered it necessary that He should die. To weep over a dying Saviour is to lament the remedy; it were wiser to bewail the disease.

II. Now we pass on from "Weep not" to "WEEP." Though Jesus stops one channel for tears, He opens another and a wider one. Let us look to it.

1. First, when He said, "Weep for yourselves" He meant that they were to lament and bewail the sin which had brought Him where He was, seeing He had come to suffer for it; and He would have them weep because that sin would bring them and their children into yet deeper woe.

2. I beg you now to look again into the reason why our Lord bade them weep. It was, first, for their sin, but it was next for the impending punishment of their sins.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

One who knew Whitefield well, and attended his preaching more frequently, perhaps, than any other person, said he hardly ever knew him go through a sermon without weeping: his voice was often interrupted by his tears, which sometimes were so excessive as to stop him from proceeding for a few moments. "You blame me for weeping," he would say; "but how can I help it when you will not weep for yourselves, though your immortal souls are on the verge of destruction, and for aught you know, you are hearing your last sermon, and may never more have an opportunity to have Christ offered to you?"

(J. R. Andrews.)

When Christ was bearing His cross, He saw some women with their children in their arms, and He said to them, "Weep not for Me, weep for yourselves." Am I wrong in saying He is looking down at this congregation now and saying, "Weep for yourselves"? Yes, we will and must compassionate ourselves. The further from the heart religion is for some of you the better; and I don't wonder at it. I can apologize for you, for I know something of the disenchantment, humiliation, and bewildering experience which comes to a man when he is sent to pity himself. Let our prayer, believing brothers and sisters, be the prayer of St. Agustine: "Lord Jesus give me the grace of tears." Those are the tears God will one day wipe away from our eyes — £1,000 for one of them!

(W. Whyte.)

What shall be done in the dry?
A word in explanation. The green tree is Christ; the dry tree in the first judgment is the Jewish nation; and the dry tree in the last judgment is the unconverted world. By a "green tree" Christ does not mean a young and tender tree, but rather one full grown and flourishing. By "the dry," He means a tree withered, worthless, and dead. With respect to the first judgment He may mean this: "If the Romans so treat the innocent Jesus, how will they treat the guilty Jerusalem?" or He may mean, "If the Jews so punish Me, how will God punish them?" With respect to the second judgment, He surely means — "If God so bruise the innocent for the transgressions of others, how will He punish the guilty for their own iniquities?" I will now, with God's help, try to open up to you this solemn text. We bare here two trees: one green — the other dry. I will show you, first, the glory and destruction of the green tree; and then, the shame and end of the dry.

I. THE GLORY AND DESTRUCTION OF THE GREEN TREE. In meditating upon the glory of the green tree, we had better keep the substance of it and the shadow of it apart from each other. To do so, we will look first at the natural tree, and next at the Saviour, who is represented by it. In the midst of yonder wilderness, overrun with all manner of weeds and poisonous plants, there lies an humble patch of dry, bare ground. From the midst of the dry, barren ground, where nothing ever grew before, there rises up a young tree, tall and fair to look upon. Higher and higher it grows, until its shadow falls upon the tops of the loftiest trees around it; higher and higher, until all the trees in the wilderness are but weeds when compared with it. Now turn to the reality. Christ is that tree of God. In his birth, He grew out of ground that was barren. As a man, He grew in stature, and wisdom, and favour, and glory, until there was none such upon the face of the earth; until tie stood alone as the great tree of life in the midst of the perishing; until He bid fair to stretch forth His branches to the uttermost ends of the world. Look back to the green tree. How beautiful it is! It has no crooked boughs, or twisted branches. There are no worm eaten or withered leaves: every leaf is as fresh as when first unfolded from the bud. There are no weather-beaten, time-stained flowers: every flower is perfect. There are no bitter or rotten fruits: all its fruits are ripe and uninjured. From the lowest root to the highest leaf, it is without a fault. Behold in this some faint picture of Jesus. His birth was as pure as the creation of an angel. His childhood was as spotless as sunshine. His thoughts were as clear as the river of God. His heart was a well of love. His soul was a great deep of light. His life was unstained by the shadow of evil. He was the admiration of angels. He was the joy of God! Look back again to the green tree. Mark its promise. Leave that tree untouched, and what will it become? Will it not reach up to heaven, and spread till it overshadows the world? Who will it leave without a shelter? What diseases will it not cure? What hunger will it not satisfy? Will it not grow into a universal blessing? Behold in this the shadow of Jesus! Had He dwelt upon earth until now, what would He not have done for mankind! If in three years He healed such crowds of diseased persons, what multitudes would He have cured in eighteen centuries! Oh, when we think of it, the glory of that green tree of God! Wonderful, wonderful Jesus! how can we now turn from the brightness of Thy glory, to the gloom of Thy sorrow? Oh! who shall tell the tale of destruction? The axe and the flame from beneath, and the glittering arrows from above, stripped and rent, and levelled all Thy glory. Thou wast slain and buried off the face of the earth!

II. And now I pause; and turn from Christ's cross to CHRIST'S QUESTION — "What shall be done in the dry?" We have looked for a few moments at the glory and destruction of the green tree. We turn to the shame and end of the dry. Look then, O unconverted man or woman, at that dry tree. It is springtime: thousands of plants around are putting forth green leaves; but not a leaf appears upon it. It is summer: the gardens are white, and many-coloured with flowers; but it stands as bare as it stood in spring. It is autumn: the orchards are golden and red with fruit; but it remains black and dead. Sinner I thou art that dry tree. Thousands around you are fruitful trees in the garden of God; they bring forth ripe faith, and tender love, and sweet hope, and mellow peace, and the fruits of joy and humility. God gathers their fruit in its season, and rewards them an hundredfold. But you are barren, without faith, without love, without hope, without peace, without joy, without humility; you stand unmindful alike of God's commands, of God's warnings, and of God's forbearance — a withered cumberer of the ground. But the evil is still worse. You are taking up the room which others might occupy with advantage to the world, were you but removed. Look again, O unconverted man or woman, at that dry tree. The showers that soften the folded buds, and spread open the tender leaves of living trees in springtime, rain down upon it in abundance; but, alas; it only rots the more. The sunshine that ripens many a flower into fruit, and sweetens many a fruit into maturity, beams down upon it from day to day; but, alas! it only decays the faster. Sinner! thou art that dry tree. The gospel, which has softened many hard hearts, has made yours more callous. God's mercies help to make you worse. Like the cross, the chief of all His gifts to you, they are "the savour of death unto death." Before I conclude, I would give you all a word of warning, and a word of encouragement. Remember, O unconverted man or woman, that this fearful question," What shall be done in the dry?" remains still unanswered. As certain as I see the sufferings of Jesus, I see the sufferings of the lost. I can doubt no more. Penitent, a word to thee. In my bitter text there is some sweetness for thee. Penitent, if they have done these things in the green tree, why should you die? If Jesus died, why should net you live? What if He died for you!

(H. G. Guinness.)

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.)

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