We all know that this is the day, that Jesus walked his final footsteps to his crucifixion.
Was it really possible to have a reenactment of the Biblical story? We were in Jerusalem this past year and I had anticipated walking down the Via Dolorosa to see the 14 'stations of the cross' but as usual, there were political tensions and we were forbidden to enter through the gates. The words "Jerusalem, lift up your voice and sing," were ringing through my mind while I walked through those days.
I had never experienced so many traffic jams in one day. The Via Dolorosa, where everyone wanted to pass through, was closed. Stones were being thrown at our bus. The bus driver was tense but he knew how to quickly navigate around the city to find another entrance. The stations represented significant events during Jesus' last hours. But for me ... I did not know what to expect ... I soon realized that expecting to see the three crosses on a hill, as depicted in Bible Story books, was far from reality. I soon realized that many of these sacred places have been protected and preserved in churches and basilicas over centuries to allow us to visit and touch and experience the event in our hearts.
We came to the place known as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is the sacred place where Jesus was stripped of his garments and then finally nailed to the cross. Through a small door that looked like a tomb, we quietly entered. Here we were, standing in the place where Jesus, who came as a King of Peace on a donkey, was going to be crucified. Is there anything more challenging than the thought of truly 'following in the footsteps' of Jesus?' (Stations 9-14)
'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Matthew 16:24 Have I ever been persecuted for my faith? What crosses have I taken up lately?
And there we stopped and gazed at this incredible sight ... where it is believed that Jesus was crucified. We stopped and paid homage to this incredible event of a heart-wrenching glimpse of the 'Man of Sorrows', bloodied by a crown of thorns, sweating under the weight of both His cross and mine.
Today we can look at Jesus to meet our needs. He asks us not to be religious, but rather to have a relationship with him.
Do we question when things go wrong for us, or we feel we have been treated poorly? Do we tend to distance ourselves from him when things go well? Is Jesus really enough for us? Do we trust him? Jesus trusted God and obeyed him to the bitter end. He heard the cries of Hosanna, Save Us! And he heard the cries of Crucify Him! He obeyed both.
Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, there's a cross for everyone
And there's a cross for me.