When Jesus was being led to the place of his crucifixion, a great multitude of people followed him. In their midst were women who were mourning and lamenting for him. When Jesus saw them, despite his own pain and suffering, he told them not to weep for him but to weep for themselves and their children.
Why were these women weeping? Why were they in such great distress? They knew what Jesus was about to face. They knew that Jesus, an innocent man, was going to be punished in one of the most painful and humiliating ways, betrayed by his own people who would rather allow a murderer like Barabbas be released, than to have Jesus set free. They knew that Jesus would be crucified in his loin cloths, with all dignity taken away from him. They knew that Jesus had to endure the unfairness and mockery of those persecuting him even though he had done no wrong. This is our suffering God. Our God who suffered and endured the cross for us, for our salvation.
Have we been believers for so long that we sometimes take the suffering of Christ for granted? Have we forgotten the pain, humiliation and suffering He went through so that we could be saved? May we never take the pain he endured for us for granted.
Because we know the second part of the story, the resurrection and hope we have in Christ; we do not have to weep like those women wept. Instead, we can choose to live our lives differently because his suffering has exchanged for us, our eternal freedom, when we believed in him. So, let us live a life that glorifies our God and make his sacrifice count.
Even towards his death, Jesus’ heart was not for himself but for us. In the midst of the pain he was going through, he cared not for himself but for the souls of all who face the danger of eternal separation from God. He knew that after his death, he would be resurrected and glorified. However, he knew that there was something scarier coming for those who do not believe in him and choose to walk in their own ways. They will face an eternal fiery furnace where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42,50). They will face suffering that will never end.
During this period of COVID-19, many of us are vigilant about what we need to do and will heed the advice of the authorities to stay safe. If we know how to take care of our temporal earthly bodies, should we not pay more attention to Jesus’ caution about what happens to our eternal bodies? Do we need to repent for choosing to walk in our ways and not in His?
During this season of Lent, may we once again remember the suffering our Lord Jesus endured for us. May we choose to respond in gratitude and repentance, and may we care for the salvation of others, just as he did, all the way till his death on the cross, and even now, after his resurrection.
By Sarah Choo (YCKC Bulletin 22 March 2020)