Within the Stations of the Cross Jesus says a reasonably extraordinary factor. He addresses it to the ladies who’ve gathered to lament Him:
Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me; weep as a substitute for yourselves and to your youngsters, for certainly, the times are coming when folks will say, “Blessed are the barren, the wombs that by no means bore and the breasts that by no means nursed.” At the moment folks will say to the mountains, “Fall upon us!” and to the hills, “Cowl us!” for if this stuff are performed when the wooden is inexperienced what’s going to occur when it’s dry? (Luke 23:28-31)
As terrible because the crucifixion can be, as mightily sinful because it was for us to have condemned the Lord, Jesus says that one thing worse is coming, one thing much more terrible. What was He speaking about? Is it a prophecy for our occasions?
Once we learn any biblical textual content, we should always ask three questions: What did it imply then? What does it imply now? What does it imply for me? Too typically at this time an nearly unique focus is positioned on the historic that means of a textual content. Whereas that is fascinating it’s also necessary to use the textual content to our personal occasions and to our personal self. That is normally the objective of excellent preaching. Let’s take a look at this passage with all three questions in thoughts.
1. What did it imply then? Jesus had typically spoken of an awesome destruction quickly to come back upon Jerusalem for her lack of perception. He did this primarily within the Olivet Discourse, which is recorded within the Synoptic Gospels (Mt 24:1-51; Mk 13:1-37; Lk 21:5-36). Jerusalem shall be surrounded by armies, nation will rise towards nation, the temple shall be destroyed and there shall be nice misery, unequaled from the start of the world till now—and by no means to be equaled once more (Mat 24:21). Many misread this discourse as referring to the top of the world, however Jesus is clearly referring to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem (which actually came about in 70 A.D.) (cf Matt 24:2-4; Mark 13:2-5; Luk 21:5-7). In some ways, the Jewish battle with the Romans was one of many bloodiest and most terrible wars ever fought. Josephus signifies that 1.2 million Jews misplaced their lives on this devastating battle. Jerusalem was destroyed and the Temple was thrown down, by no means to be rebuilt.
Jesus appears to be saying to the ladies, “Ladies of Jerusalem, although you weep for me in my struggling, bear in mind that one thing far worse will stumble upon you and your youngsters. It is going to be so terrible that folks will truly name those that died ‘blessed’ and people who by no means existed ‘fortunate.’ It is going to be so terrible that folks will lengthy for loss of life.”
He then refers to inexperienced wooden and dry wooden, in a sentence that principally means, “If I, who am harmless, meet this destiny of crucifixion, what shall be in retailer for the responsible?”
Therefore, what this passage meant then was that Jesus was summoning the ladies to prayer, to a deep and mournful prayer that might name folks to conversion. In any other case, troublesome days would lie forward.
2. What does it imply now? Jesus spoke not solely to his occasions however to ages but unborn. His phrases match our occasions like a glove. For certainly these are occasions when many say, “Blessed are the wombs which have borne no youngsters. Blessed are the wombs that bear fewer youngsters. Blessed are those that follow contraception. Blessed are the surgically sterilized.” In different phrases, Blessed are the barren, the wombs that by no means bore, the breast that by no means nursed. All through the Western world, delivery charges have plummeted; in some nations they’re dangerously low. Some Western Christian nations and societies are training contraception and inflicting abortion to the extent that they’re approaching some extent of no return. Years of fear-mongering about overpopulation, extolling the virtues of contraception, and preferring the one life to marriage and household has led to a dramatic shift within the attitudes of many Westerners towards youngsters, who are actually seen as extra a burden than a blessing. Sterility and barrenness have been thought-about a horrible curse till fairly not too long ago. However in what Pope John Paul II termed a “tradition of loss of life,” many have come to say “Blessed are the barren.” And though nations resembling Germany, France, and Italy are virtually begging their residents to have extra youngsters (even offering tax incentives) it appears that evidently most Western Christians can’t be bothered with things like marriage and household.
As well as, many within the radical environmentalist motion at this time see humanity as an awesome scourge on the planet and would appear to want that “the mountains fall on us and the hills cowl us.” There are bumper stickers that say, “Earth First.” There’s a present on The Historical past Channel that fantasizes about “Life after People” (truly, it’s a reasonably artistic present).
In wanting ahead to our occasions, maybe Jesus’ phrases to the ladies can be: “Ladies of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me; weep to your descendants. For the times are literally coming when folks will say ‘Blessed are the barren.’ The times are literally coming when folks will want to not have youngsters in any respect or at the very least to have as few as potential. The times are literally coming when youngsters shall be aborted within the womb and the flexibility to do that shall be referred to as a ‘proper,’ when ladies in troublesome conditions shall be taken to abortionists by individuals who they’re doing one thing good. The times are literally coming when melancholy, self-loathing, hopelessness, and misplaced priorities will so devour your descendants that they are going to want nonexistence to existence when loss of life will turn into a sort of ‘remedy’ via abortion, euthanasia, contraception, and stem-cell analysis. Sure, pricey ladies, prayerful weeping might push off these grievous occasions for some time, however the days are coming when this stuff shall come to cross. For in the event you suppose issues are unhealthy now when the wooden is inexperienced, what’s going to occur when the wooden turns into dry?”
You could suppose that the image I paint with these phrases is a bit excessive. However there’s a beautiful high quality to Jesus’ phrases as He warns these ladies of very troublesome days forward. They’re simply as beautiful in our occasions. Although our historic second is totally different, it truly appears to be a extra literal success of Jesus’ phrases!
3. What does it imply for me? Now do you actually suppose I’m going to do your be just right for you? It stays for every of us to reply this query for him/herself. What will we weep about? Can we weep about issues that basically matter or merely over worldly losses—issues that shall be misplaced anyway? What sort of a world are we bequeathing to our youngsters? Can we love life? Is new life an indication of hope for us or is it a burden? Can we converse prophetically concerning the tradition of loss of life? Can we encourage marriage and reward childbearing? Can we assist younger dad and mom via among the difficulties of elevating youngsters? The Lord certainly has many extra of those private questions for us. Ponder the textual content slowly and take into account what the Lord is perhaps saying to you.
Picture credit score: Deposit Photographs
This publish initially appeared in Community in Mission and is reprinted right here with permission.