Bible Reading: Luke 23:26-31, James 4:8-10
"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." (Luke 23:28)
"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." (James 4:8-10)
Scorned and bruised and beaten. Mocked and cursed and shamed. Shrieks of agony, pulped flesh, shredded skin, warm with oozing crimson. The cross was sheer horror. It was the death of all deaths, the suffering above all sufferings.
Yet bearing the cross down the Via Dolorosa, Jesus turned to His sympathisers, those who loved Him dearly, who mourned and lamented the great tragedy and injustice unfolding before their eyes. He rebuked them, saying, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." Innocent as they were, these women did not know that it was for their sins He died. They did not comprehend how it was their rebellion and pride that nailed Him on that tree. They did not understand that for sin, the Son of God had to give up His glory and become sin for them.
Where do we shed our tears? What do we see when we gaze upon the cross?
It was for our sins He died. "Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom" (James 4:9). This is the result of our sin. Unknowingly, in pride and blindness, we cry, "Crucify Him!" and the Son of God had to die. Mourn for sin, for it has humiliated God. It has stolen His glory and replaced it with vain images of man. Weep, for it is our iniquities that have put Him there.
Moreover, weep, for many are still blinded, unaware of the consequences of their sin. They still do not care. Rather, they continue to mock and humiliate the wretched Man hanging upon the cross. "And when [Jesus] drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up barricades around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation" (Luke 19:41-44).
This Good Friday, weep for your sins and weep for the many who are lost, who are unaware that the Messiah has come. On the contrary, hope in Christ and do not weep for Him, for He came to fulfil the Father's will. He willingly endured suffering before Him because of the joy that was to come — the reconciliation of man and God and glory to the Father forevermore.
Lord, teach us to weep as You weep. Bring our hearts to sorrow over our sin and the sins of the world which blind us from Your glory. Thank You for what You have accomplished on the cross. Thank You that Your suffering means that we do not suffer alone. You understand, O Lord. In the darkest place, You brought hope. Help us put our trust in You. In Jesus' name, amen.