We are only aware of a fraction of the suffering in the world, but God is all-knowing.
26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 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!’ 30 Then
“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’
31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Jesus on the cross is the ultimate picture of suffering. And still, as he’s about to go to his death, he has empathy for the people around him. He never loses sight of the reason for his mission – he always understands what the people around him are experiencing. Evil hurts the innocent. We get a very small-scale picture of it here – the injustice of Jesus’ crucifixion ends up causing pain and ridicule for this random traveller, Simon.
Jesus’ words about the soldiers are incredibly comforting. He understands that they don’t fully grasp the evil of their actions, and he doesn’t want them to suffer. And he would also understand the same thing about all of us. I know that I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about suffering, but when I do it’s easy to find – you can find endless information about massacres, serial killers, abuse stories, and more. And that’s only the stuff that’s been found out. But God knows everything. He can see the full effects of humanity’s evil, and He hears the suffering and crying of every single person. And He offers a way out.
Head: How often do you think about evil and suffering?
Heart: If you are honest with yourself, have you caused anyone to suffer this week, or even today?
Hands: When you know about someone suffering, what kind of action do you take?
Prayer: Lord, we don’t feel the weight of the world’s suffering like Jesus did. We’re ignorant of the evil we ourselves cause, let alone the evil of everyone in the world. We praise you for your incredible empathy and love – Jesus felt the world’s suffering with his own body, but he still forgave those around him. Help us to be mindful in the same way. Amen.
A song to listen to: Saved my soul
Zoe Harland- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina