Summary: On His way to the cross Jesus ministers to the weeping women and then ON the cross He seeks the forgiveness of those who placed Him there. A true reflection of God’s love for humanity.
The Via Delarosa – READ THE PASSAGE [v.26-38]
Since His arrest in the garden Jesus had not slept, and had been questioned on 4 separate occasions, none of which revealed any wrongdoing. Jesus had be treated roughly and beaten severely by the Temple guard and we know from Mark’s Gospel account [Mark 15:16-20] that Jesus was also beaten severely, mocked and mistreated by the Roman guard as well as being flogged by the cat of 9-tails, a whip made up of 9 strands with pieces of bone and metal at the end of each strand…
At the point Jesus is being led away, he had been subjected to at least 12 hours of this torture and ridicule, possibly more. He was physically exhausted and had reached his physical breaking point… he could go NO further. John’s Gospel details that Jesus went out bearing His own cross, but the other 3 Gospels detail a story about a man named Simon who is forced into service… he is forced to carry the cross for Jesus. We read in v.26…
26And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.
The implied situation is that Jesus was too weak from the beatings and from loss of blood to carry His cross. So they recruited a man from the crowd to get the cross to the top of the hill for Him… Simon the Cyrene
Simon was from Cyrene… it was a city in North Africa that is close to what we know now as Tripoli, in modern day Lybia. Simon was there more than likely as a worshiper for the Passover celebration… or he could have been a traveling merchant… either way, he was in Jerusalem. He was there minding his own business when the Roman soldiers ‘drafted’ him for this duty. He was drafted because the Romans refused to carry the cross… it was beneath them… it was shameful… they would not do it!
27And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.
Here we also find a throng of mourners is pointed out by Luke. What is NOT clear here is if these were the standard mourners that would come to any and all funerals… OR if it was actual mourners who were there because they were mourning Jesus Himself.
Although the text does not specify… the context seems to treat them as genuinely mournful about what was happening. SO much so that Jesus turns and speaks to them.
28But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For behold, the days are 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 these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
Jesus shares with them that they are weeping for the wrong thing, don’t weep for ME is what He gets across, but weep for the nation, weep for yourselves and your children, because there is coming a day of bitter judgment… and when that day comes you will not want to be here…