Stations of the Cross
Just like you and me, He was afraid and wanted out.
Can you imagine, his closest friends were all fast asleep when they should have been vigilant! And even after waking up, they would all desert him, one by one. Then the terrible suffering would begin.
But Jesus did not get angry. Instead, he got down on his knees and prayed hard and asked for an exit.
“Father if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering from me. Yet I want your will not mine.”
Read it in Luke 22:42
Look LONG and HARD into a mirror.
What you see is the reason why Jesus took that cup of suffering. Remember that!
But more importantly, STOP and THANK GOD for the sacrifice on Calvary. Jesus Loves the Man in the Mirror.
How much was Jesus worth to Judas?
30 pieces of silver, that’s what!
In those days, that was equal to 3 months’ salary. Today, that would be about P36,000. The cost of a luxury cellphone, or a cheap laptop.
How much was Judas worth to Jesus?
If we are to believe that Jesus died for ALL mankind, then I guess Judas meant the world to him. Yes, God loves his creation deeply. That includes YOU.
If you still doubt that, read on:
Luke 15:8-10 God is compared to a woman who stops at nothing to find her missing coin.
Luke 15: 1-7 He is the Good Shepherd who will abandon the 99 sheep to search for the missing one.
Luke 15:11-32 God is like a lovesick Dad who is waiting for his wayward son to come home.
Coins of Betrayal
The trial of Jesus was one of the shadiest ones in history.
First, it was held deep into the night.
His accusers were also his judges.
Jesus had no defense lawyer.
His trial was over and done in a record 9 hours.
He was executed less than 24 hours after the verdict.
The Sanhedrin court was known for erring on the side of mercy.
Ask yourself now, have you ever been quick to judge someone?
Just by one quick look? Without knowing who they are or what their story is?
If the answer is yes then now is the time to pray and ask God for a heart that is slow to judge.
Standing Before Judge & Jury
As a child who loved listening to stories from the Bible, I always wondered why Pilate never stood up for Jesus.
Especially since he was SO powerful and admitted that Jesus was innocent. He said things like: I find nothing wrong with this man… he’s done nothing to deserve death… What crime has this man commited?
And then my heart would always break when I hear the part that says Pilate washed his hands before the crowd saying he was innocent of the blood of “this innocent person.”
His words in quotation.
I was too young then to understand the politics between the Romans and the Jewish nation they were trying to rule over. Pilate needed to be popular and so he followed the “will of the crowd.”
Are there decisions you have made to please the crowd? Gravely wrong decisions?
Ask God to give you the strength to go against the flow when the surge of the popular starts to overwhelm you.
A typical Roman scourging whip was not just a strip of leather like a belt. It was made of several leather strips with iron balls and sharp-edged bones braided into the thongs. Flogging with such an instrument would cause severe bruising and lacerations to the skin. It was specifically designed to do maximum damage without killing it’s victim. It was perfect for torture. And it was used mercilessly on the body of Jesus.
But here’s a bit of a comforting thought: thousands of years ago, Isaiah had predicted this would happen to the messiah.
Isaiah 53:5 - But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
Take this time to thank God for any healing in your life. And if there are areas that need some fixing – whether it be physical or not, go ahead and ask Jesus to step into the situation. Remember, he chose to carry those wounds so you can be whole.
By His Wounds You are Healed
In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve made their big mistake, God pronounced a curse on the land, that it would produce thorns and weeds. And so thorns have become symbolic for the effects of sin in our lives. And there are SO many effects – there’s shame, pain, bitterness, loss, fear, insecurity, depression, sickness, you name it! And as those Roman soldiers placed that thorny crown on Jesus’ head, he felt the curse of all our sins pricking deeply into his scalp.
Galatians 3:13 clearly says Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.
Look closely at the crown of thorns on the pillow. Imagine the pain each one can cause. How does it feel knowing that your sins caused so much pain?
The Crown of Our King
Jesus had to carry his uphill on the road that was later named the Via Dolorosa or “The Way of Grief”.
He must have been a very strong man to be able to carry such a load after the scourging and beating he took from the Roman soldiers guarding him.
And to think that the road he walked to Calvary was roughly half a kilometer. That’s the length of about 5 American football fields.
Thank the Lord for walking on the “Way of Grief” that bought your freedom.
I'll Never Know How Much It Cost...
Who can forget the disciple who denied Jesus 3 times before the rooster crowed??!!! It gets more embarrassing when you find out that 24 hours before his famous triple denial, he swore absolute fealty to Jesus, even unto death.
But before you start calling him names, history shows that Simon Peter made up for his lapse many years later when he was crucified for preaching the Gospel of Christ. It is doubly shocking when you learn that he chose to be crucified upside-down because he did not feel worthy enough to die the same way Jesus did.
Simon of Cyrene
This man was a stranger. A foreigner in Jesus’ land. And his role was seemingly small. When Jesus became faint and could go no farther, Simon helped carry the cross. And for that he will forever be remembered.
At this station you are encouraged to think of the Simons in your life who helped you walk the mile. The stranger who showed you kindness. Even the friend who unexpectedly came to your rescue.
You can be a Simon too – pick a piece of paper from the fishbowl filled with prayer requests and pray for that stranger.
Then afterward, write down your own prayer request and leave it in the fishbowl so someone else can also be a Simon to you.
Ask and It Shall Be Given..
The Romans reserved crucifixion for the worst of criminals who ‘deserved’ maximum pain before death. The spikes they used were about 5 and half inches long and were driven into the wrists and feet. No ropes were used to bolster the arms.
In that position the ONLY way to breathe is to push down on nailed feet so the lungs could expand. Eventually, the pain and exhaustion would just be too much and the convict would slowly die from suffocation.
Why would God allow his only son to experience what is probably the most gruesome way to die in all of human history?
It had to be that way because as the cross shows just how repulsive sin is, it also shows just how much God loves YOU.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son…
At this station you are asked to take a piece of black cloth and a nail and hammer it into the cross. Let each strike remind you that because of God’s love you don’t need to carry the guilt of your sins anymore. They’ve all been taken care of by Jesus on cross.
Mary had a little lamb. And his name was Jesus…
Iit must have been a shock to see her son cut down to pieces, bloodied beyond recognition and doomed to a horrific death. How could this happen to Jesus her son, her child who was once a little babe in swaddling clothes? How could it have reached this point? But it was happening and there was nothing she could do except follow Jesus all the way to Calvary.
And as he hung on the cross, struggling to breathe, he did not forget her. He entrusted her to his beloved disciple John.
As we remember Jesus this Holy Week, find time to think about the most important people in your life. How are things between you and your parents? Your siblings? Your spouse or loved one? Whatever the situation, give thanks to the Lord for each person in your life. If there are broken relationships then now is the time to pray for healing and forgiveness.
Next to Jesus on Calvary were two thieves.
One scorned Jesus saying – If you really are a superhero, get off your cross and save us all!
The other confessed saying – both of us deserve death for what wev’e done, but this man Jesus? He is innocent.And then he goes on to ask Jesus – please remember me when you get to your kingdom in heaven.
When you are in the middle of a desperate situation and it seems like there’s no way out, what is your reaction?
A. God, if you are really there, prove yourself!! How can you be God and let this happen?
B. God, please help me through this. I don’t know if I’ll survive this but I trust in You anyway.
Whether you’re an A or a B or even both, the best place to be as you meditate this week is down on your knees and crying out to God.