Wood in Luke.

Please could you explain to me what this verse means?

Luke 23:31 For if this is what is done to green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?’

What is this wood? Is the wood women?

Luke 23:27-31 Large numbers of people followed him, and women too, who mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children. For look, the days are surely coming when people will say, “Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”; to the hills, “Cover us!” For if this is what is done to green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?’


I think it means that the “green wood” is right there when Jesus was opposed by so many and crucified.

This was early on…when the wood was green. (those happenings).

So, if there was so much hostility and misunderstanding about Jesus then, while he was still on the earth, (the green wood), what will happen when it is dry? (now, many, many years later.)

Jesus is telling us that there will be a huge change, so big that even those who are open minded and adaptive will struggle (they are the green wood which you can bend into a right angle without it snapping, but it does get quite stretched.) As for those set in their ways, Jesus doesn’t wish really to contemplate it. It will be pretty messy, to say the least.

The kind of change would be like the Church opening its doors to lesbians who reject the theology of procreation, and then ordaining them.

The Protestants have already achieved that so I guess they are the greener wood and as time marches on, so the remaining Churches will become more dry. When the change comes for them, that is when the problems will start.

Or at least that is what Jesus is saying. I think we should take Him on His word, don’t you?

This is a metaphor.

Green wood is still alive and hard to burn and break, Jesus is the wood (or the Gospel is) and it is green since he is there in the flesh and people are rejecting him…destroying him and his message.

So how much easier is it to burn and destroy the message years later when he is gone and the freshness of the message has dried.

He says this right after His address to Jerusalem’s women, telling them not to weep for Him but for their own children.

Green wood is alive, or nearly so. It resists burning.

Dry wood is dead. It burns readily.

The human-on-human cruelty that was now being devolved upon HIM in His natural body (when He was the life keeping the wood green) would go to full conflagration when He would otherwise have been old, but would be long gone; in the events of AD 70.


From The Catholic Biblical Association’s 1942 book, A Commentary of the New Testament, pages 288-289, on Luke 23:31:
31. The meaning of this figurative language is, “If the Romans, who know that I am innocent, treat me so severely, how much more severely will they treat you as a rebellious nation.” The figure is taken from the fact that dry wood burns more easily than green wood.

Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary says:

Ver. 31. In the green wood: by which are signified persons of virtue and sanctity; as by the dry wood, the wicked, who bring forth no fruit, and who, like dry wood, are fit to be cast into the fire. (Witham) — If they be thus cruel with me, how will they treat you!

Certainly Our Lord was referring to his persecution and the destruction of Jerusalem, but also of the hard-heartedness of the Jewish leaders who would see all they tried to hang onto, by condemning Jesus, burned and destroyed.

I’ve often thought of this verse for our times in which faith, once green, alive and supported by our culture is now becoming dry, dead, and something to be eradicated by our generation. Woe to us if we continue on the present course of persecution that our culture has begun on Christians and Christian beliefs.

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