Reframing the Pain of Good Friday

Faith Schiller | April 15, 2022

A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’  

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 

Luke 23:27–31

I’ve always been fascinated by the female disciples and apostles who followed Jesus. Throughout His ministry, countless women devoted themselves to furthering the Kingdom of God. They were remarkably resourceful,  compassionate, strong, and generous. In Luke 23, we encounter these women three times: on the way to the cross (verse 27), at Jesus’ death (verse 49), and at Jesus’ burial (verses 55–56).

At the climactic moment of Jesus’ crucifixion, we find these women weeping. They witnessed the man they loved—the most empowering man they had ever encountered—experiencing unimaginable pain and being ripped from their lives, and they wept for His suffering.

In today’s passage, Jesus addresses them for the last time, framing the tears shed over His sacrifice for generations to come: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.” Charles Spurgeon rephrases Jesus’ statement like this: “You need not weep over the crucifixion, but weep over your transgressions, for your sins nailed the Redeemer to the accursed tree.”

As we consider Jesus’ death, it’s easy to get caught up in the pain, sorrow, and loneliness Jesus must have experienced as He went to the cross. Like the women, we empathize with the physical, spiritual, and emotional agony He endured. Yet, while we can be grateful to serve a God who—being fully man—knows the depth of our human suffering, we must remember that our brokenness sent Jesus to the cross. 

On Good Friday, we have the opportunity to mourn the pain of our suffering Savior and the fact that our transgressions and our rejection of God made it necessary for Him to experience such pain. To weep solely over His death is to lament the remedy which reconciles us back to Him. Instead, Good Friday invites us to grieve our sin that made the sacrifice necessary in the first place. 

Next Steps

  • Read all of Luke Chapter 23. What did you learn about Jesus, and how is He meeting you in your story today?
  • Take time to recall your specific sins and strongholds, and allow yourself to grieve your participation in Jesus’ sacrificial death. 
  • As we think ahead to Easter, how will you move from grief to gratefulness? Praise Jesus for intervening in your story and saving you from your brokenness. 
  • Easter Week Extra: Join students from Willow’s Junior High and High School Ministries (JHM & HSM) as they dive deeper into the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Today, reflect on the fact that Jesus paid the ultimate price (1 Peter 2:24).

21 Days of Prayer

God, help me take space in this season to mourn what I need to mourn. Give me discernment on what to mourn. Give me courage to invite You to be with me in the darkest parts of my life. Help me receive Your embrace as You bring me comfort through Your presence. (Luke 23:27–31)