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Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 23-The Women of Jerusalem Weep for Jesus

Luke 23:27-31

A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him.  But Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the days are surely 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 this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

In this passage, Binz tells us that Jesus addresses these women with a prophetic message rather than a consoling one.  Because Jesus knows the destruction that will soon come to Jerusalem when it is attacked by the Romans in AD 70.  That time was a dark time for the Jewish people.  It was better to never have had children rather than watch them die in this horrible attack.  When he tells them "For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" he is comparing the destruction of himself (green wood) to the future destruction of Jerusalem (dry wood).  In other words, if the Jews can do this to their innocent messiah(green wood), how much worse will the destruction be for Jerusalem (dry wood)?

To tell you the truth, I never really paid a lot of attention to this scene.  It totally makes sense to me why these women are flipping out.  I would like to think that I would have been one of them.  They recognize who Jesus is and what is happening to him. And they mourn.  However, I never knew that Jesus' response to them was prophetic.  I did not put two and two together with regards to these words and the later destruction of Jerusalem. 

Have you noticed that women in the Passion account are portrayed in a mostly favorable light?  Why is that?  And while we are at it, lets jump forward to the hear and now.  Have you noticed that women are more likely to be at prayer groups, faith formation classes, retreats, etc..? At least that is the case in all the churches I have attended.  Why are the women out numbering the men?

I have thought about this for a while and I am going to go out on a limb and tell you my ideas behind this dichotomy.  Women seem to be just naturally more open to the spirit, while men seem to have thicker and stronger walls to overcome.  It seems to be much harder for a man to ask for prayer or even to approach God in a posture of surrender.  I am not quite sure why this is.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that men refuse to ask for directions.  Anyhow, since coming to these conclusions, I have fostered a deep respect for the men in my church.  They have overcome so much more than I have in regard to growing their faith.  I love to listen to them pray and hear them sing and worship next to them.  They inspire me.  I pray that their numbers will grow by leaps and bounds.  Our churches need more than a few good men.

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