Jesus Speaks A Proverb Luke 23:31
“for if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry”. Jesus here uses a common proverb to convey to those to whom He was speaking about the sufferings that was coming upon them. Verses 28-30, “daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and your children. For indeed the days are coming when 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”.
The green tree in vs. 31 is the symbol of the righteousness and the dry tree the wicked. Psalm 1:3, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its seasons, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper”. Here a comparison of a tree to a person. A living tree, green. Ezekiel 20:47, “and say to the forest of the South, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God. Behold I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree in you. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be scorched by it”. Ezekiel here speaking of the desolation that was to come. No distinction was made between the green tree and the dry.
If an innocent man (green tree) should so suffer, what would be the fate of the wicked? The green tree is representative of one who bears fruit, while the dry tree represents the one that does not bear fruit, but is ready to be burned. The Jewish people were now rejecting him and leading him to his death on the cross. They were more guilty than those who took no part in the crucifixion. Read I Peter 4:12-18.
- CL Bruner