And there followed Him (Jesus) a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for Him. But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For 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!' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" (Luke 23:27-31)
Have you ever been in the middle of terrible suffering? If you're like me, it gives you a kind of tunnel vision. I can't concentrate on anything but the pain. Oh, somewhere in the back of my mind I know that life goes on—that other people still exist—even that they might be suffering, just as I am. But it's incredibly hard to put my own suffering aside to focus on theirs. My own suffering takes up all my energy.
But notice that Jesus is different. Just look at Him on the road to the cross! He's already been beaten, tortured, kept up all night, put through five separate trials—and yet He still notices the women on the side of the road who are grieving for Him.
In fact, He goes further than that. He lays His own suffering aside and takes a minute to warn them of what's on the way—their own suffering at the fall of Jerusalem. Those days will be so horrible, He says, that being childless will look like a blessing. After all, if such evil things are happening now, while God Himself is walking the face of the earth, what will happen when He is no longer visibly present?
Jesus sees us just as clearly as He saw those women. He sees you—your situation, your needs, your suffering. He is concerned for you. Your suffering is the reason for His suffering. As Isaiah put it, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5). He loves you this much.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to respond to Your love with love. Amen.
* When you have pain and medicine isn't helping, what do you usually do?
* Who in your life has cared for you in spite of their own suffering?
* Does it comfort you to know that Jesus sees you clearly? Why or why not?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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