Luke 23:26-31: Dry Wood
September 16, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
As we approach the crucifixion itself, we come across two sets of characters that interact with Jesus as he goes to The Skull (23:33). The first is Simon of Cyrene. Unwittingly, he is employed as a cross bearer for Jesus, to carry the cross behind Jesus. He is the first in a crowd that is gathering, and indicates that this deed done to Jesus is in reality and illustratively the expression of the wrath of God against the world. “At the cross of Jesus, pardon is complete, love and justice mingle, truth and mercy meet. Though my sins condemn me, Jesus died instead; there is full forgiveness in the blood he shed.”*
But in the first section, verses 26-31, the text emphasizes the wrath. Simon, dragged to carry the cross, follows on behind Jesus. Then a great multitude gather to mourn and lament. They are crying and weeping for Jesus. They know that a great crime is in process of being committed, an injustice, an evil, and they are moved to mourn for Jesus. But, again, Jesus indicates that really they should be mourning for themselves.
If people do this when the tree is green, what will they do when it is dry? Jerusalem will, indeed, experience the most devastating and horrific siege and capture at the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. It is appropriate when we look at the cross to mourn over our sin. We must not only mourn over our sin, for then we would fall short of rejoicing over the Savior who at the cross paid the penalty for our sin. But if our sin was a light and easy thing, it would not require the Son of God to be crucified for it.
We take our disobedience too casually, in this culture today, rather than too morosely. Sin is rarely mentioned at all in our culture, sometimes not even in church. We do not realize the devastating consequences of sin. Yes, our sins can be forgiven at the cross; yes, the price is paid. But sin does still, in this world, carry with it consequences. An evil word of gossip can label us as a gossiper and erect a hidden barrier between us and other people. A lustful look can erode respect and trust for the looker, as well as dignity and honor for the one lusted after. A lie can bind us in invisible ties of deceit so that we watch every word and every action, unable to laugh freely or act unselfconsciously.
And the sin of rebellion against God, in the end, will have its just reward: condemnation. It has an effect on nations: righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a rebuke to any people (Proverbs 14:34). It has an effect on churches: God wishes that the church of Laodicea was committed to him and will spit it out of his mouth (Revelation 3:16). Churches that are lukewarm about the gospel rarely thrive.
Do not take sin casually. Consider the impact that it has upon you, your friends, your family, your church, the world, and most of all on the honor of the God that you serve. Take a moment this morning to ask God to search you and know you and see if there is any way in you that is displeasing to him (Psalm 139:23-24). Repent of your sin, ask for his forgiveness, and ask that he would give you a clean heart and renew a right spirit within you (Psalm 51:10) that you might serve him in newness of life.
*At the Cross of Jesus by John Eddison
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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