As they 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.
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 barren 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 men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:26-34
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:33-34
- Why do you think Simon of Cyrene (Cyrene, Libya) was made to carry Jesus' cross? (the cross would have weighed anywhere from 40-125 lbs. depending on whether He carried the whole cross or just the crossbeam; either way, this would have been a heavy load to carry for a few miles for a healthy man and Jesus had spent a night without sleeping, drinking or eating and had been brutally beaten and whipped)
- As Jesus was being led to His death, who was He thinking about...Himself or others? How do we know this? (comment to women following Him)
- Why did He tell the women of Jerusalem to weep for themselves and their children? (He saw the coming destruction of Israel as a nation that occurred in 70 AD by Rome as well as future persecution of Jews and the Church)
- Who was crucified with Jesus? What is important about this? (read Isaiah 53:12 - fulfills prophecy that He would be crucified with criminals)
- Did the suffering that Jesus was experiencing cause Him to stop praying or to pray even more? How do you think He could pray through all the pain? (He had made prayer a lifestyle and it was as natural to Him as breathing)
- Who does Jesus pray for on the cross? Who does He think of first?
- What can we learn from His prayer? (even in the midst of our greatest sins, God loves us and wants to forgive us...His greatest desire is not for punishment but for us to be forgiven)
- What is Jesus doing today, right now, in Heaven? (read Romans 8:33-34)
Jesus was suffering greatly. We would understand if His prayers had been for Himself, for God to give Him the strength to endure, to ease the pain...but they weren't. Instead, even to the very end and in the greatest pain and agony, the thoughts and prayers of Jesus were for others. He prayed for the Jews and for the future Church, and He prayed for you and for me. You see, it wasn't just the Jewish leaders or Pilate or the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus...it was each of us. Our sins caused Him to suffer and die. He willingly died so that we would not have to. When He prayed to His Father, asking for forgiveness, He was thinking of you and me. And He still prays that prayer in Heaven, for us. What a precious Savior we serve!
Lord Jesus, how can we begin to thank You for what You did on the cross and continue to do for us in Heaven today? Words can not express our thanks and our love for You. Help us to follow Your example, to forgive our enemies and to pray for those who hurt us. And help us to continue in prayer, every day, throughout the day. We love you so much Jesus!
Song: Above All
Above all powers
Above all kings
Above all nature
And all created things
Above all wisdom
And all the ways of man
You were here
Before the world began
Above all kingdoms
Above all thrones
Above all wonders
The world has ever known
Above all wealth
And treasures of the earth
There's no way to measure
What You're worth
Laid behind a stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose
Trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me
Here is a video with music and words: Above All
Another wonderful song with this theme is We are the Reason - here are some videos with the words