“Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’’ For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?’ There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.’ The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, and saying, ‘If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.’ And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
For Whom Should We Weep?
What is the most fearful thing in our spiritual life? What is the biggest enemy, the biggest adversary, in our spiritual life? It’s our fleshly thinking. Our fleshly thinking constantly comes up and harasses us. Our fleshly thinking continues to spring up until we are transformed into new flesh. Therefore, it is easy for us to follow our fleshly thinking and we consequently end up becoming an adversary of Jesus even though we know and believe in Jesus. It is because we cannot think of the spiritual things when we fall into fleshly thinking. If that is the case, we end up turning our backs to Jesus because our faith gradually withers away and eventually dies. We become like Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus at the end even though he was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
The Bible says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:5-8). We must know that fleshly thinking still exist in us and harasses us, but we must be spiritually minded. The most proper thing for you and me to keep is the spiritual thinking and the spiritual faith. We become upright when we are spiritually minded, that is, when we think of the spiritual work first. And I also believe that we can live a successful spiritual life only when we follow God like that.
Easter Sunday returns every year in spring. Usually, Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs next after the vernal equinox. The date of Easter Day is calculated as such because it was originally based on the Jewish lunar calendar. This year’s Easter Sunday will be April 15th. Today is April 1st. Christians designate next week, a week before Easter Sunday, as Passion Week, and they fast during that time and think of the passion of Jesus and participate in that suffering through some kind of asceticism or saving food that they have not eaten while fasting and giving it to the poor. Then, they share and eat hard-boiled eggs in the morning of Easter Sunday. They live with new hearts like that. Although such a custom is the religious ritual of the season, many people think of such a season only fleshly and just consider Passion Week as depressing.
In the Word from today’s Scripture passage, a Cyrenian man passed by when Jesus was carrying the Cross up to the Golgotha Hills and the people made him carry the Cross of Jesus and follow Him. Many people at the time pounded their chests and mourned in lamentation as they followed Jesus up to the hill. They were weeping because Jesus was being taken to the place of execution even though He did not deserve to be killed. At that time, our Lord said, “It’s fine that you pity Me. But cry for yourself and your descendants instead of crying for Me.” He said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28). At that time, a lot of women in Jerusalem were following after Jesus and trying hard to stop the execution, but the Lord said that they should cry for themselves and for their children, instead of weeping for Him as it is recorded in the Scriptures here.
How was Jesus able to speak like this when He knew that He would die and so many people sympathized with Him and pitied Him? How could He say such things when they pounded their chests and wept because of the sadness out of sympathy and love for the righteous death of Jesus, that is, the death He was suffering for the sins of the world for the people? How could Jesus, instead, say, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” to the people like that?
Many Christians Become Depressed During Passion Week
They especially refrain from the recreational activities of the world, do not eat fancy food, and do not enjoy the joys of the flesh, and live ascetically thinking they must remember the meaning of Passion Week. It’s because they commonly believe it is right for them to participate in His passion like that. Of course, those things are right, too. I am not saying it’s wrong for us to consider those things important. However, what did our Lord say to you and me? The Lord said, “Do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” Through this Word, we can think on whether it is the proper attitude of heart for us believers only to be sad during Passion Week.
Jesus says to us now, “Think about it. How much sin have you committed so far? Wouldn’t you who are such sinners go to hell in the future? Wouldn’t you go to hell due to your fleshly thinking and the sins you commit throughout your life? Wouldn’t you be cast into the inferno of hell and suffer terrible pain? Wouldn’t you and your descendants also suffer like that? Therefore, shouldn’t you instead think about the fact that you would go to hell and that your descendants would be like that and weep and lament for that? Then, why are you crying for Me? Do I look pitiful to you because I am being taken to the place of execution? Weep for yourself and for your descendants instead of pitying Me and sympathizing with Me. I am a pitiful being. I came to this world according to the will of the Father God and took the sins of the world upon Myself by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist. Therefore, I am going to do the work of saving you by carrying the sins of the world, dying on the Cross, and being resurrected from death. Then, how could you be sad for Me and have pity on Me? Rather, have pity on yourself. Weep for your descendants. Isn’t it clear that you will go to hell after living in this world? Therefore, shouldn’t you pound your chest and weep to receive the remission of sins for yourself? It is a wrong thinking to weep for Me instead of looking at yourselves. The one that should be pitied is you, not Me.” This is the Word the Lord is speaking to us today.
Next week is Passion Week. What should we think of during this Passion Week that commemorates the day Jesus was crucified? What should the Christians throughout the entire world and you and me who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit think of? We must think about how often we think and do fleshly things and how often we go against the will of God as we live in this world. Rather than being sad for the fleshly passion and death of the Lord, we must realize that we are people who deserve to go to hell due to sin, and instead be happy and thankful for the fact that our Lord blotted out all our sins by taking all such sins upon Himself and dying on the Cross. Instead of crying for Jesus and crying in pity of Jesus, we must really realize that Jesus died on the Cross and perfected our salvation through His death because He received the baptism to take all our sins upon Himself. We must realize this and become the saints who are always thankful.
Even if we have always confessed thanks before the presence of God with firm faith until now, we must give even more thanks as we greet this special season. We must confess, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You have really blotted out all our sins and become our Savior. You saved us with the water and the Spirit. You received the baptism, shed your blood on the Cross, and were resurrected from death to save us perfectly. You are our King, the High Priest that blotted out our sins, and the Prophet that teaches all the Truth to us.” We must believe and depend on the Lord like that and give thanks to Him for saving us and confess the faith even thousands of times. That is truly profitable for us. Instead of weeping for the Lord, instead of fasting as we think of the Passion of the Lord, instead of practicing asceticism pitying the Lord, we must, rather, think about the fact that the Lord has saved you and me from sin and think about the fact that He has become the perfect Savior for you and me who are really wretched, and be thankful with faith like that. We must really become people like that. This is what the Lord wants.
Therefore, we shouldn’t be sad just because it is the Week of Passion, and we should instead give even more thanks to the Lord by believing in Him. We must make our faith even firmer because the Lord is happy with us when we become the people of stronger faith.
If we are not careful, we can fall into fleshly thinking and become depressed because Passion Week is drawing closer, especially since it’s raining gloomily outside. Of course, there are times when we think about something other than God’s work. I am like that, too. However, the thing we must never forget in such thinking is the fact that Jesus Christ saved us from all our sins. Actually, how wretched and inadequate people are you and me? However, our Lord saved us who are like that so perfectly. Let’s always think about this fact and reconfirm it in our hearts, ruminate it, and confess our faith before the presence of God. It wouldn’t be enough even if we confessed it billions of times. Until we go to the Kingdom of the Lord, it wouldn’t be enough to just confess, “The Lord is Christ, the Son of the Living God.” We should profess our confession of faith many times every day, hundreds of times every month like this, “The Lord has blotted out all my sins perfectly through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” We can do God’s work with proper faith and go to the Kingdom of God when we do as such.
When working for the literature ministry, I have interpreted and preached the Scriptures from many different perspectives, but I have never spoken without the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Maybe I might have spoken about it just a little when I was preaching a sermon. However, I constantly inserted the true gospel intentionally while I was working on the documents for the literature ministry. I reiterate it thousands and millions of times in confirmation. I inserted it constantly in this book and that book. When people read my sermon book on the Book of Romans, maybe, they could think, “I should read this book just from the perspective of the Book of Romans.” However, I inserted the gospel of the water and the Spirit there, too. Therefore, the people who read the book can ruminate on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They truly become immersed in the gospel. When they become like that, they can have truly proper thinking; they can have proper faith; they can live with faith even more before the presence of God; and they can look at their weak selves and give thanks to God even more. They become the people whose faith becomes stronger.
You and I Cannot But Think of Fleshly Things
I understand this well, too, because I am also like that. Our fleshly thinking harassed us yesterday, and it goes around harassing us today as well. It will probably be happening that way in the future, too. For a person who likes fishing, the thoughts of fishing devour the person, and for a person who likes computer games, the thoughts of playing the game devour the person, and all such thoughts can go around harassing us without hindrance. What about you? Doesn’t the fleshly thinking run around in you? We, human beings, constantly plot evil things as if a spider spins a web to catch insects. We plot such things even without knowing we are doing it.
Is your thinking a spiritual one, or is it a fleshly one? Is it enough for us just to pound on our chest and pity Jesus before the presence of Him like the daughters of Jerusalem here? Is that really caring for Jesus? No, it’s not. Fleshly thinking is running around inside your heart. It means that your flesh does what is profitable to it even without you knowing it. You lie with your carnal mind, go against the Lord with your carnal mind, care only for yourself with your carnal mind, and make others fall into a trap with your carnal mind. When we are indulged in such a fleshly thinking, we must come back to the Lord’s bosom quickly. We must think of the spiritual things. We must look at our true self even hundreds of times a day. We must look at our true selves that commit so many sins and constantly ruminate the fact that through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord saved you and me who are like that. We must constantly profess the confession of faith. Our hearts find balance, our physical body finds balance, and the direction of our faith finds balance when we constantly confess that the Lord has really saved us with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Even though we have received salvation from sin, the Lord’s work is not fulfilled if we just do the Lord’s work recklessly. We must first think of God’s work. We must profess the confession of faith hundreds and even thousands of times a day. Only then can we lead such a spiritual life that our Lord is pleased with. What did the Lord say? The Lord said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” Then, who should be pitied? Should it be Jesus, or us? We are the beings that should be pitied. Although we have received salvation by faith, we are prone to make people fall into a trap and we also fall into the same trap ourselves by falling into fleshly thinking like the way a spider spins a web. It means that the fleshly thinking plots a trap to bring down even the saints themselves and the Church.
Because you are like that, and because I am like that, we must realize that we are not upright and only depend on the Lord. We must believe that the Lord took all our sins through His baptism and understand why the Lord had to shed His blood on the Cross and give thanks for the work of His salvation. We must always give thanks with faith. We can go wrong at any time and everything becomes wrong when the outcome is wrong. If we go against the gospel, go against the servants of God, go against God’s people, and even go against God even though we say we believe in the Lord, then, it would not matter if we believed in God in the past or not. Such things do not matter at all. Therefore, we must always look at ourselves and weep for ourselves, and always profess our faith before the presence of God. That is the only way to be faithful in our life of faith.
The Lord said, “For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’” It means that it will be like that when the last day comes. The Lord said, “Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!” What does this Word mean? It is saying that there will be a blessing for the people who are not pregnant, people who do not breastfeed a child at the time of the destruction of the world, that is, the people who are not attached to the things of the world and do not do the work of the world anymore.
In the future, God will judge the people who have sin, the people who go against Him. Then, how should we really live? We must look to the Lord and follow Him only as we live in this world. The Lord said we must look at ourselves, weep for our selves, and stand firm with faith. The Lord also says, “For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?” The Lord will definitely come to this world and judge as it says in this Word. The people who still place their hope in the world that will be destroyed are really foolish people. They are very foolish people. I become gloomy when I preach such a sermon and you become gloomy as well because this world will definitely be destroyed in the future. Therefore, I try to preach more positive sermons as frequently as possible. However, today is an exception because I have already said such a gloomy thing today.
The Lord said that there are many people among those pounding their chests and weeping who would receive the judgment of God. That’s why the Lord said that we should cry for ourselves and our descendants instead of weeping for Him. There was a notorious woman called Mary Magdalene at the time. She met the Lord, received the remission of all her sins, and lived the spiritual life after realizing that Jesus was the Savior. Then, one day, she witnessed Jesus being taken to the Cross. She pounded her chest and wept because she loved Jesus spiritually, and a friend of Mary also pounded her chest and wept along with her. Then, when Mary asked her why she was crying, she said that she was crying because she was so sad after she heard people saying, “Jesus should not have been executed. But the Jews, especially the chief priests, the elders, and the religious people, incriminated Jesus falsely and Jesus is being executed like that.”
Her Friend Had a Wrong Thinking
She was not able to think that she would die also and that she would receive the judgment before the presence of the Lord. The Lord is going to the Cross now because the Lord took all the sins of the world at the Jordan River. But among the people who are crying for Jesus, the people who have sins in their hearts would receive a horrible judgment of fire and receive the suffering eternally, but they were crying for Jesus without knowing such things. There definitely is a judgment for every sinner. The Bible says, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). It is God’s prearranged principle that a human dies once after being born to this world once. Furthermore, there is definitely a judgment after dying like that. However, for the people who confess their faith and follow after the Lord, there is Lord’s reward for them, instead of a scary judgment.
Let’s see the Word from the Gospel of Luke chapter 23 verses 32 to 38. Jesus received the death penalty along with two others who had received the same penalty and went up to the Golgotha Hills with them. The other two people were crucified, and Jesus was crucified there. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And the Roman soldiers divided His garments and cast lots. The rulers sneered at Jesus, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God,” and wrote on a board above Jesus’ head in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
The Pharisees also sneered at Him like that, saying, “He did such things like forgiving and cleansing the sins of the woman caught in adultery while He was alive. Look at Him now.” They spat on Him like that, mocked Him, and sneered at Him. They sneered at Him, saying, “Save Yourself if You are the Christ. You said that You are the King of Kings. Then, save Yourself first. Shouldn’t You save Yourself if You are the King?” Jesus was the true King. Jesus was the King of Jews, the King of all the people throughout the entire world who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and the King of all the creation. He was the true King. He was the true Savior. He was the High Priest who has blotted away the sins of human beings. Jesus was the true King although the people at the time sneered at Him.
However, the people who wrote the Word “The King of the Jews” when they crucified Jesus to mock Him who was the King. They sneered at Him, “Save Yourself if You are the King. How can You say You are the King of Jews when You cannot even save Yourself?”
Jesus was crucified not because He was not the King of Jews. Jesus was crucified because He gave Himself up to the Cross voluntarily in order to save you, me, and the entire humankind with His body as the King. It means that Jesus as the King gave up His life to truly save you and me, as the Savior who blotted away our sins, and as the Prophet.
Jesus did this because He was the true King who loved His people, not because He was weak. He came to this world to save His people. And the Lord told us not to worry because He knew that He would be resurrected from death in three days. The Lord gave His body before the presence of God the Father and received the baptism and died on the Cross to save you and me, and all the people throughout the entire world who believe in Jesus. It means that the Lord became our true Savior by giving His body.
Do you believe in this? Jesus is Christ indeed. He is truly the Christ. The word ‘Christ’ implies the King, the High Priest, and the Prophet. Who is the King of kings? Who is the One who will judge all the people and the universe? Who is the One who will judge the Devil? It’s Jesus Christ.
Jesus Speaks to Christian Sinners and Many Religious People Who Pity Him
Jesus wants them to weep for themselves, not for Him. The people who have not received the remission of sins and do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit the Lord has given to them, and the people who do not believe in Jesus and do not throw away their fleshly thinking must weep for themselves now. They have to do so because they will be cast into the eternal fire if they do not follow the Lord with faith like that, if they do not return to the spiritual thinking until the day of the Lord’s return and do not confess the faith in the Lord. Therefore, they must pound their chest and cry for themselves and their descendants now.
Jesus is the true Prophet. He taught everything to us. Jesus taught us how we became sinners and how we receive the cleansing of sin. ‘The Lord said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. Those who believe in me will never be destroyed, and they will receive the eternal life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” The Lord taught us everything with the Word. Therefore, we must now believe with our hearts, and follow the Lord with thanksgiving.
We would just end up in death if we only followed our fleshly thinking, saying, “It is enough for me now since I have definitely received salvation.” We must realize that any human being can become like that and always live with faith. We must profess our faith everyday and every moment and follow the Lord. I as well as you must do so. I do not want you to become people who die after leading an erroneous life of faith, and therefore, receive judgment later. I sincerely do not want you to become people who end up in death by following fleshly thinking, people who go against the Lord like that. Really, aren’t there so many people who have gone toward the destruction while leading a spiritual life like that? Honestly speaking, they were the same people just like us, but became like that because they fell into fleshly thinking.
If Jesus becomes your Lord once, then He is your eternal Lord. You must never think, “You have become my Lord once, so I would like to forget about You for a while. Let’s meet later at the time of rapture.” You definitely become the Lord’s adversary if you part from the Lord after following Him for a while. If you follow your own fleshly thinking, do not join together with God’s Church, and do not join together with God’s workers, there is only death that awaits you. There is only destruction. Like Judas, it would have been better for such a person not to be born to this world.
Satan the Devil is plotting many things in your hearts now. You know that, right? But, that doesn’t matter. Think about yourself. When you fall into fleshly thinking anyway, realize how many evil things you are doing and how much evil you are plotting, and repent. Give thanks to the Lord who saved such a person like you and follow after the Lord immediately. You just have to have a desire to follow the Lord with faith continuously and to keep your mind spiritually although you are lacking. You must become such people. It is arrogant to think, “I have done enough in my spiritual life. I know what to do even if you do not tell me constantly. I can do as well as you can.” Such arrogance is the way of destruction that leads to death.
You and I must meet the Lord after living with faith and professing our faith constantly. We must become the support for saving the people’s souls. Have you seen an old tree? The outer part of the tree is alive even though the inside is all rotten. New buds and leaves sprout out from there. When we go near a pine tree, we can see many little pine trees growing there from the seeds that fell from the pine tree. A long time ago, I bought a little ginkgo tree and planted it, and the ginkgo tree reaped fruits after three or four years and so many other ginkgo trees started sprouting forth from that root. So many new trees sprout forth when we just plant one tree properly and take proper care of the area around that tree. We can gain as many as twenty trees from one tree.
Then, how many spiritual trees can we attain from each of us? How many people can we save? Would we each just save a few hundred people? Would we each save just a few tens of thousands of people? We each can save hundreds of millions of people. Each one of us will save hundreds of millions of people. I am saying that each one of us would save that many people if that one person followed the Lord to the end with faith like that.
Are you thinking, “Who would receive salvation through me when I am like this?” That’s not true. The Lord works through you and saves many people when you follow the Lord with faith. That is the amazing work of the Lord. The Lord does this, not you and me. I give thanks before the presence of our God who uses us preciously like this.