WEEP NOT FOR ME
Luke 23:26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.
Susie: Cyrene was in Northern Africa and is modern day Tripoli in Libya.
Susan: A colony of Jews lived in Cyrene, and the Cyrenian Jews even had their own synagogue in Jerusalem. Simon and his sons had probably been staying in the countryside around Jerusalem and were walking into the city to celebrate the Passover.
Susie: Simon and sons came across the procession to the place of crucifixion, and Simon was pressed into service by the Roman soldiers. We do not know whether Simon intended to witness the execution or if this just happened to be his route to the city.
Susan: By divine providence Simon was there when Jesus needed someone to carry the cross beam usually borne by the prisoner. By this time, Jesus had been beaten, severely flogged, and deprived of sleep. He was unrecognizable, barely resembling a human being. He was in no shape to carry the heavy crossbeam.
Susie: Mark’s gospel includes the fact that Simon had his two sons with him. We do not know the age of these sons when this incident occurred. Their names must have meant something to Mark’s readers in the early church. Some commentators believe this is the same Rufus mentioned by Paul in the book of Romans.
Susan: No matter the ages of these boys, they probably wished they had not been with their dad that day. However, witnessing Jesus on the cross may have led to their eventual salvation!
Susie: Ray Bolz uses his imagination in the song “Watch the Lamb” but the message behind it is great. Follow this link to listen:
Mark 15:21 (VOICE) Along the way, they met a man from Cyrene, Simon (the father of Rufus and Alexander), who was coming in from the fields; and they ordered him to carry the heavy crossbar of the cross.
Romans 16:13 (CJB) Greet Rufus, chosen by the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me too.
Luke 23:27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.
Susie: An execution always seems to draw a crowd—those who knew the prisoner, those who accused him, and those who come out of morbid curiosity. There was a large crowd following Jesus and the other two men who were to be crucified that day.
Susan: No doubt, some of the women in the crowd were devoted followers of Jesus and, of course, His mother. Others may have been professional mourners or as we read in numerous commentaries, women who made it their personal mission to try to ease the suffering of those subjected to this cruel death by offering them narcotics.
Luke 23:28-30 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
Susie: Jesus, in His compassion, tells the weeping women they should not weep for Him but for themselves and their children. If we read this in light of Luke 21:20-24 where Jesus prophesied about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., we know why He gave this warning.
Luke 21:20-24 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Luke 23:31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
Susan: When we first read this verse our minds said, “Huh?” Therefore, we looked up the point of view of several commentators. Our two favorite responses are quoted below. In summary, Jesus is represented by the green tree—innocent, full of life, and bearing fruit (For, eve in His dying He produced the fruit of believers who would become the adopted sons and daughters of God.) The dead tree represents the Jews in Jerusalem who refused to believe He was the Messiah, and all who never trust in Him—guilty, cut off from life, and fruitless.
The MacArthur Study Bible
23:31 green wood…dry. This was probably a common proverb. Jesus’ meaning seems to be this: If the Romans would perpetrate such atrocities on Jesus (the “green wood”—young, strong, and a source of life), what would they do to the Jewish nation (the “dry wood”—old, barren, and ripe for judgment)?
Susie: Note that only Luke’s gospel records this speech Jesus made to the women following Him to Golgotha.
Susan: Luke often included details about women that are neglected by the other synoptic gospels.
Pulpit Commentary as quoted at https://biblehub.com/luke/23-31.htm
Verse 31. - For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? Bleek and others interpret this saying here thus: The green wood represents Jesus condemned to crucifixion as a traitor in spite of his unvarying loyalty to Rome and all lawful Gentile power. The dry wood pictures the Jews, who, ever disloyal to Rome and all Genesis the authority, will bring on themselves with much stronger reason the terrible vengeance of the great conquering empire. Theophylact, however, better explains the saying in his paraphrase, "If they do these things in me, fruitful, always green, undying through the Divinity, what will they do to you, fruitless, and deprived of all life-giving righteousness?" So Farrar, who well summarizes, "If they act thus to me, the Innocent and the Holy, what shall be the fate of these, the guilty and false?"
Ponder this and Apply it: Are you intertwined with the “green tree,” Jesus Christ and grafted into the family of God? Is He living in you? Is Jesus your vitality? Or are you a dead branch, one who has not trusted in Jesus as the Son of God, the Savior? A dead branch is thrown into the fire because it is worthless. Praise the Lord that the dead branch can be brought back to life and filled with sap when you surrender your own will to the will of Jesus Christ. Can you say the following with Paul the Apostle?
Philippians 4:13 (AMP) I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]