After Pilate had passed sentence of death upon Jesus, whom he knew to be innocent of the trumped-up charge of the Jewish rulers, He was taken out to die upon the cross which He was compelled to carry and a great company of people followed Him. Making up the crowd were “the daughters of Jerusalem who bewailed and lamented him.” Who were these women whose wailing was loud and bitter as they looked upon Him who was despised and rejected of men? Deutsch, the commentator, suggests that they may have formed one of the sisterhoods resident in Jerusalem for mitigating the sufferings of condemned criminals by narcotic drinks. Among those weeping women were those women from Galilee including Mary and Martha who had followed Jesus for many a day (23:49). He had always been most gentle to their sex, and women saw in Him their emancipator. Now they express their deep sorrow with their tears.
But comforted though Jesus must have been by the sympathy of those women, He said, “Weep not for me.” To the outward eye Jesus was in a most woeful plight seeing He was being led to Calvary to die as a felon on a wooden gibbet, but He wanted them to see Him with the eye of faith as One going forth to His coronation. How amazed those loving women must have been when on His Via Dolorosa He said to them “Weep not for me”! Some there are who have never wept for Him. As they pass by, all His suffering on their behalf is nothing to them.
Have we no tears to weep for Him,
While foes revile and men deride?
Jesus accepted those tears of womanly grief, but implied that they would soon be dried because His thorn-crowned brow would soon be diademed with glory. They must save their tears for themselves and for their children and shed them when the dark days of judgment will overtake their city rejecting Him. Under Titus in a.d. 70, women remembered His word about the barren being blessed when they saw babies delivered up to the knife. So Jesus urged those women not to weep for Him, but to weep over the sin taking Him to His cross, and over the coming national disaster such sin would occasion. Alive for evermore, and Prince of the kings of earth, Christ does not need our tears. But our gross sin against Him, whether personal or national, should result in deep contrition of soul.