But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and your children. Luke 23:28.
Jesus wished them not so much to look at His outward sufferings as at the secret inward cause of that outward sorrow, namely, the transgression and the iniquity of His people which had laid the Cross upon His shoulders and surrounded Him with enemies! Consider these words of Isaac Watts—
“’Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins, His chief tormentors were!
Each of my crimes became a nail, And unbelief the spear.
‘Twas you that pulled the vengeance down Upon His guiltless head:
Break, break, my heart, oh burst my eyes! And let my sorrows bleed.
Strike, mighty Grace, my flinty soul, Till melting waters flow,
And deep repentance drowns my eyes In sorrow and in woe.”
We now pass on from, “Weep not,” to, “WEEP.” May God the Holy Spirit help us to dwell upon that for a while with profit to our souls. Though Jesus stops one channel for tears, he opens another and a wider one. Let us look at it. First, when He said, “Weep for yourselves,” He meant that they were to lament and bewail the sin which had brought Him where He was, seeing He had come to suffer for it. And He would have them weep because that sin would bring them and their children into yet deeper woe.
You know that just before He uttered this remarkable saying, the husbands, the fathers and the sons of those women had been crying with loud voices, “Let Him be crucified,” and when Pilate had taken water and washed his hands to show that he was innocent of the blood of Jesus, they had imprecated upon their nation, and upon their unborn sons, the curse which follows from such a deed. “Then answered all the people, His blood be on us and on our children.” And though these women lamented and mourned, yet over their heads, the men who had spoken for the nation had gathered the thunder cloud of Divine Wrath! Jesus points to it and says, “Weep for the national sin, weep for the national curse which will surely come upon you, because you are putting the Just One to death.”
Yes, deeper, still, was His meaning, for all those about Him were, in a sense, guilty of His death. And you, and I, and all the rest of mankind have been, in our measure, the cause of the Savior’s Crucifixion. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, this is the reason why we should weep—because we have broken the Divine Law and rendered it impossible that we should be saved except Jesus Christ should die! If we have not believed in Jesus Christ, we have this cause for lamentation—that our sin abides upon us at this present moment! That curse which crushed the Savior down till He cried, Eloi, Eloi, lama Sa-bachthani, is resting upon some who are here this morning!
Souls, you need not pity the dying Christ, but pity yourselves! On your own selves, your sin is resting! And your children growing up unconverted, hardened in rebellion against God by your example—their sin is resting upon them, too, and this is the overflowing cause why you should weep! And you Believers, you from whom sin has been lifted, who are forgiven for His name’s sake—yet lament that you should have sinned—and with your joy for pardoned guilt mourn that Christ had to carry the burden which you heaped together and to bear the penalty which you deserved! All round, Brothers and Sisters, there is abounding cause for sorrow for sin—a sweet sorrow from the Lord’s people and a bitter sorrow from those who have no part nor lot in the result of Christ’s passion as yet, but who, nevertheless, are partakers in the crime which slew the Son of God! By Charles Spurgeon