This Sunday is our annual Water Day (formerly called The Great Big Water Balloon Fight of 2022) – so wear beachy kinds of clothing that you don’t mind getting wet and a towel! We’ll be serving hamburgers and hot-dogs (courtesy of Pineapple Willy’s).
The text we’ll be studying together is Luke 23:26-31 as we continue our reading of Luke’s Gospel. We’re in the final stages of the narrative, and Jesus is now headed to the cross. As he is enroute to his place of execution, we are introduced to a new character who, again, isn’t there to advance the story as much as give insight to its meaning.
Simon of Cyrene (modern day Libya) appears in all three synoptic gospels who, like Barabbas, is named; so its intended that we pay attention to him. He is compelled by the Romans to carry Jesus’ cross since Jesus isn’t able to do so. So he takes Jesus’ cross and follows behind him. What picture does that create for you? Who might he represent? Read Luke 9:23 – does it connect with this scene in your thinking?
Jesus then stops to preach what is considered his final sermon to Israel when he speaks to the grief-stricken women on the road. Most scholars believe this is Jesus making a final forecast of the events that unfolded in 70 AD when Rome destroyed Jerusalem. We’ll do our best to unpack that on Sunday.
What stands out to me is that Jesus lets these women know they didn’t need to weep for him. Considering he’s been beaten and bloodied and on his way to be executed, how does that make sense? Why do you think it wasn’t necessary to weep for Jesus? What sort of resolution is before him?
Given Jesus’ outcome – what might that tell us about following Jesus’ way of the cross? How might it encourage us when His path becomes difficult to follow?
I hope you can join us as we explore this text on Sunday!