Luke 23:26-31 … We’ve been following the final 24 hours in the human life of the Incarnate Son of God, the Messiah Jesus. It pains our hearts to read and watch these events unfold. But we need to keep in mind that these events, however horrible, are in the determined will of God (Acts 2:23). The sinless, holy and pure Jesus will take upon Himself the sins and transgressions of the world. There are only six verses to consider – and when we understand them correctly, we’ll begin to understand the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Consider for a moment what has occurred before we get to Luke 23:26 when the procession to the cross began. Jesus has been kept awake all night, taken from one trying venue to another. First He was taken to Annas, where he was brutally beaten. Annas was the former high priest who was the real source of religious power in the community. Then, He was taken to Caiaphas, the actual high priest (son-in-law of Annas) who had said “it’s better for one man to die for the people than the whole nation perish” (John 11:49). Then He was taken to the hastily gathered Sanhedrin (ruling religious council) at daybreak who decided Jesus should die; then to Pontius Pilate who pronounced Him innocent, but sent him to Herod. Finally He was taken back to Pilate, who three times attempted to release Him and subjected Him to the outrageously cruel scourging (Matthew 27:26) and then compromised his moral office to mob pressure and condemned the Son of God to die on a Roman cross.
Now we come to Luke 23:26 … let’s not divert our attention to Simon the Cyrene, a North African who was pressed into service by the Roman guard to carry the cross from the gate to the crucifixion site. Keep our eyes on Jesus. Bloodied, beaten, and weakened physically but still spiritually powerful and in control of these events. When Judean women along the way wept in pity for Him, He deflected the pity and repeated what He had told His disciples … that great disaster would fall upon Jerusalem, so great that people would wish that children had not been born. That referred to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. that came within a lifetime of the crucifixion. Then He said this (v.31): “For if they do these things [that is: crucify the Son of God] when the tree is green [that is: at a time when the Kingdom of God has been so near to them], what will happen when it is dry? [That is: when the world is under the unhindered influence of Satan.] It is a message revealing the rejection of the Messiah. What might we conclude? Perhaps this: We should not pity nor offer remorse for Jesus … He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). But our pity and concern ought to be toward those who reject the Messiah of God. Because, if any reject the Messiah, then truly they have no hope.
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