Prepare to Listen. In your silence, offer this prayer: Be pleased, O God, to deliver me. O LORD, make haste to help me!
Prayerfully Read Luke 23:26-31
26As they led him 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. 27A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For 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.” 30Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us.” 31For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’
Accompanying Jesus to the cross were strangers, Simon of Cyrene, a great number of unidentified people, and Jerusalem women mourners. Noticeably absent were his disciples. Simon, in the wrong place at the wrong time, was seized by they, also unidentified, who “made him” carry the cross behind Jesus. They unwittingly put Simon in the position of a true disciple of Jesus, who said, “If any want to become my followers, let them… take up their cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23).
The great number of people is undefined. Were they supporters of Jesus or supporters of those who condemned him? Only the women, whom Jesus called “daughters of Jerusalem,” mourned in a traditional loud, boisterous manner. Jesus heard and, putting aside his pain, he turned and comforted them. He also warned what was to come—desolation and unbearable suffering. He then gave an “upside-down beatitude” for those ordinarily considered cursed. Things will be so bad that the childless women will, for once, be blessed.
It’s not a blessing anyone would choose since it meant unbelievable suffering. But here’s the thing, we can’t avoid suffering. We may not experience much today, but the people of Ukraine are, and I wonder what Jesus would say to them. I can’t stop the Russian attack, but I can mourn with the Ukrainians and pray for them and for the end of the conflict. Jesus would put aside his own pain to comfort them too.
What emotion do Jesus’ words and actions evoke in you?
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus as you made the painful journey to the cross you had time for the women mourners, and the love to comfort them. I pray today for those suffering anguish that they may know your love and comfort. Amen.
Live obediently. Stand with the suffering today, even if only in prayer.
 Wright, N. T. Luke for Everyone. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 2001, p. 283.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.