Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus I Am Resting Resting"1 (Lyrics)
John 19:17 – They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. (NASB)
During Holy Week, many Christians throughout the world symbolically follow Christ's journey to the cross to enhance their spiritual experience of the journey from Pilate's judgment hall to Calvary. Prayers and reflections are considered while following successive incidents on Christ's journey, known as the Stations of the Cross, a series of depictions represented by pictures, paintings, or sculptured plaques which have been set up along a path commemorating the events of the passion of Jesus.
My encounter with this tradition came through an invitation by a friend to attend a weekend spiritual retreat in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, California, USA. During the retreat, the congregants were invited on a walk to follow the Stations of the Cross for thoughtful prayer and reflection. This experience allowed me to meet God in a unique way, with an increased awareness of Christ's suffering as He made His way along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day.
To think that the event of Jesus' journey to the cross was a one-time event in history is to misunderstand the role of remembering. Throughout Scripture, in both Old and New Testaments, God's people are called to remember. In remembering this event by walking the Stations of the Cross, we are not just re-enacting a 2,000-year-old event. We are making our own journey, and in the process confessing our own dependence upon God.
When we follow Jesus on His journey, we begin to understand that in Jesus' sufferings, we see our own journey mirrored in His. We sometimes struggle on the journey, trying to understand the unfairness of life. We may be misjudged and misunderstood by others. We suffer physical and emotional pain as part of being human. All too often, we experience painful endings. Marriages fail. Children make destructive decisions. Friends betray us. Loved ones die. Sometimes, the world becomes dark and hopeless, like the world of Good Friday as Jesus journeyed to the cross.
Challenge – As we follow Christ, we are compelled to identify with those who suffer in their own journey. Let us reach out to help those around us, showing God's love by listening, praying, and assisting those in our community who are in need.
Prayer – Heavenly Father, as we begin this journey of the cross, we open our hearts and minds to You. We lay aside for these moments the trivialities of our life and bring ourselves into Your presence. Speak to us what we need to hear, and help us to hear Your spoken words afresh in our hearts. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.