Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.
– Jesus, Luke 17.33
Many women followed, mourned and wept aloud while Jesus was marched to the crucifixion. I’ve already written about the significance of a woman’s ability to more readily grasp and appreciate the story of Jesus’ passion. Personal pain ushering in new life is something they are raised up knowing in a way that is very foreign to men. It is difficult for me to not spend more time on this thought because it is such an important one that is completely overlooked in most church settings. We need to make more room for women to help us understand their understanding of “life and life more abundantly.”
Since I’ve already written a bit about that aspect though, I want to focus on how Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. ... For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” There is so much to chew on in this statement.
Why were women mourning and not scattering like the men? How does Jesus turn to them and instruct them to not weep for his being physically tortured and led to an excruciating crucifixion, but to think of their children and the years ahead? I know most of us can’t place ourselves in other people’s shoes like this when we’re experiencing oppression and adversarial people in our lives. But, somehow, Jesus does this seemingly effortlessly. His heart continuously goes out to those around him.
I can’t help but note the freedom in this. To be experiencing completely oppressive circumstances and to still have the mental, emotional, and spiritual freedom to put yourself in someone else’s shoes: love them, care for them, and be there for them … it’s beyond comprehension! It is merely and simply through Love that Jesus was able to do this. It leads me to remember that God cannot be fully known by the analytical mind, but by love alone. Love transcends places, circumstances, understandings, hurts, and opinions. It is freedom! And God is Love!
Jesus was fully in love with God, and this made him fully in love with the people around him, in all and through all. Because of Jesus’ great Love, he saw his present circumstance as a part of a greater whole and identified himself with his oppressed “neighbors.” This Divine understanding expressed itself as selfless compassion.
Looking at the end of his life, it is no wonder why Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love God and love your neighbor. He even said that loving your neighbor was like loving God.
“Christ Jesus, grant me a heart that transforms pain into compassion."