Everywhere I have ever preached there have been more women than men. I don’t think that’s because women live longer! It just seems that women in general are more spiritually minded than men.
In fact a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life concluded women are more religious than men:
◆Women (86%) are more likely than men (79%) to be affiliated with a religion.
◆Women (77%) are more likely than men (65%) to believe in God.
◆Women (66%) are more likely than men (49%) to pray daily.
◆Women (44%) are more likely than men (34%) to regularly attend worship services.
Interestingly we see many women who followed Jesus during His ministry. Women who served him. Worshiped Him. Believed on Him. Requested healing from Him.
It is not surprising then as Jesus went to the cross that women followed. Some named. Others unnamed. Picture this scene.
Jesus has been tried. Unfairly and illegally. He has been mocked. Slapped. Slandered. And spit upon. He has been savagely beaten. And now He walks the way of sorrow from down the street toward the site of His crucifixion. He is bloody. Weakened. And half-dead. He is exhausted to the point of needing help to carry the cross.
As he walks through the gauntlet of people with two criminals also condemned to die, the crowd is cheering and jeering. Pharisees are smugly gloating. The Roman solders, hardened by so many similar executions, are just matter of factly doing their job. In the midst of all this mayhem the scripture says.
“And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.” (Luke 23:27).
Upon seeing the outpouring of emotion from these women, Jesus stopped. Turn to them. And said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” This is remarkable when you think about it. Consider the two parts to this conversaton.
“Weep Not For Me”
Think of the contrast. The crowd was cheering These women were weeping. The Pharisees were rejoicing . The women were wailing. The soldiers were scoffing. The women were mourning.
But Jesus said, “Weep not for me.” Why?
1. Because Jesus’ death was a necessity. It was the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. It was the will of the Father.
2. Because He could endure it. He accepted it. He was willing and ready to die for the sins of the world.
3. Because their weeping would be turned to rejoicing. Ultimately he would be able to wipe away all tears.
“Weep for Yourselves”
It may seem rather cold and insensitive that Jesus would respond that way. But not so. He is saying a day would come that would bring them personal sorrow. Pain. Woe. And weeping. Most believe He was speaking prophetically of the destruction of Jerusalem. It would bring them and their children a deeper woe. A greater sorrow. A painful suffering. These events would occur because of society’s sin and man’s wickedness.
I wonder about these women who followed Jesus. No doubt some of them came to the empty tomb. Many, if not all of them, saw the risen Savior. Indeed their weeping turned to rejoicing. Their sorrow to delight. Their mourning to gladness.
Today we weep. On the Fridays of sin, suffering and sorrow, we weep. While the enemies of Jesus jeer, we weep. When religious leaders reject the Lord, we weep. When society’s sinfulness results in distress, we weep.
Yet, we have a reason for our weeping to be tempered. Because Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman