“For if men do this when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:31 NIV)
Jesus was being led by Roman soldiers to the place of the Skull, where he would be crucified. Simon of Cyrene was carrying Jesus’ cross and two criminals were in the procession as well. Women were mourning the mere fact that anyone was being crucified this close to the Passover. When Jesus heard the women weeping, He responded that they should weep for themselves because the day was coming when harsh judgment would come upon Jerusalem. With these words he predicted the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Then Jesus provided this interesting statement, “For if men do this when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” If sinful humanity acts in such a way as it did on that Good Friday, with Jesus in its presence, how much more when He is not in its presence?
Left to our own devices we always move toward darkness and death. That which was once green and abounding with life begins to wither and dry. We can see it in the Garden of Eden, Sodom and Gomorrah, the lives of kings Saul and Solomon. There are so many examples of individual lives and entire societies moving toward darkness, death and destruction as they move away from God. As I think of our society’s growing desire to remove God and religion from our institutions, I am concerned that we are moving in the same direction as so many other societies that have died before us. We are becoming more violent and aggressive! Just consider what we hear on the daily news about how women and children are treated in our society. This trend certainly seems to be one of moving from life to death.
But regardless of where our society goes, we need to make sure that we don’t move with it. We need to hold fast to the teachings of our Lord and Savior. We need to live according to the Biblical principals that provide us the life-giving nourishment that keeps us green with life.