February 10, 2016 (Ash Wednesday)
If you think things are bad now and you are crying out for help, what will you do when I return?
This is the meaning of the short proverb and parable that Jesus gives to other women who are crying about the state that Jesus is in. Jesus is carrying His cross to be used for His own death. He has been flogged and beaten. He will soon be crucified and by the end of the afternoon He will be dead. He comes across a group of women who are crying over the present circumstances. They don’t want Jesus to be hurt. They don’t want Him to die this cruel death. They empathize with Him during this horrible time.
In His time of distress, Jesus points to His return. Jesus says that “the days are coming,” which is His way of describing the conditions when He returns after His ascension. He states that women will wish that they did not have children, for they will want the mountains to fall on them. The circumstances will be very bad for them. He is describing the time of the Antichrist. Then He shares the following words:
“For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
What Jesus means is that if you are crying now, what will you do when what is happening to Me happens to you?
Right now, they are persecuting the Master. But there will be a time when evil will be used to persecute His followers. This is an amazing exchange that Jesus has right before His death. Even now, as He is suffering the pain of going to the cross, Jesus is challenging His believers to be ready to follow in His footsteps.
Will I take the easy road of luxury, of joining the crowd as they mock Jesus? Or will I take the hard road of persecution, of following Jesus in the pain and suffering that comes in following Him?
This is a question that we must all ask ourselves when times get tough. Will we cry when the wood is green, or will we cry when the wood is dry? Will we complain when we watch others encounters difficulty? Or will we cry when things happen to us?
Do we have the stamina to stand up for Jesus and follow Him when times are hard? This is the challenge of Lent. This is the challenge that Jesus shares with us today, a day of mourning.
Prayer: God, I look forward to following in Jesus’ footsteps, even when He carries the cross to the place of His death. Help me as I reflect on His suffering during this season of Lent.