THE CROSS OF JESUS

The stations of the Cross, also known as the Via Dolorosa. is a narration of the final hours in the life of Jesus Christ on earth that continues to provide spiritual conviction to every Christian and application to our lives.  The stations of the Cross serves as a stark reminder of the humble manner in which Jesus was willing to set aside any privilege Deity in order to provide a path of salvation through His sacrifice.

1st. station of the Cross:  Jesus on the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:39-46).  Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives for His Father to take the Cup from His hand that meant His death on the cross; it demonstrated the humanity of Jesus (Luke 22:39-46).  It is not difficult to imagine how great His anticipation was concerning the events He was about to face.  There comes a time in the life of all Christians when they must also choose between God’s Will and their own.  And that choice, like Jesus’ choice, displays the level of commitment and obedience to God, as well as the true condition of the heart.  Jesus’ heart was all about obedience to the Father, even when He prayed on the Mount of Olives, He prayed for, Father thy Will be done, no matter what fate He had to suffer.

2nd. station of the Cross:  Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested (Luke 22:47-48).  Judas not only became one of the most despised characters in history when he betrayed Jesus; he also became a haunting reminder to every Christian that there have been times they have fallen to the temptation to sin.  For the Christian, stumbling in sin is like betraying the one who gave His life for us.  Christian who deliberately turn away from their spiritual conviction, and allow Satan to bring temptation, and sin into their life, I will say, that Christian needs to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith.

3rd. station of the Cross:  Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin (Luke 22:66-67).  The Sanhedrin council were made up of seventy priests and scribes, and one high priest demanded that Pilate execute Jesus.  This incident serves as a warning to all Christians to be careful not to exalt ourselves by self-righteousness judging others.  Biblical knowledge and exalted position in this world still fall pitifully short of God’s Holy perfection, and prideful thinking can easily be the downfall of even the most pious Christian, in fact, God tells the believer not to think of himself more highly than he ought to.  Christians who have a pious deception.  Christians are not the judge over their Christian brothers, God is the judge.  (Psalms 50:6) “And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself”.  Christians are to respect positions of authority, but ultimately it is God’s Will, and God’s Word that should reign supreme in their lives.  Christians are gifted with the Baptism of God’s Holy Spirit to comfort, teach, and guide them in every situation, allowing them to make every decision according to the perfect Will of God.  And there will be no need for rulership like the Sanhedrin.

4th. station of the Cross:  Peter denies Jesus (Luke 22:54-62).  When Jesus was arrested, a number of those present at the time accused Peter of being one of Jesus follower. (Luke 22:54-62).  But as previously predicted by Jesus, Peter denied knowing Jesus three-time.  Peter was Jesus most trusted disciple, he witnessed many miracles of Jesus, even walked on water with Jesus. (Matthew 14:29-31).  Even so, Peter demonstrated the weakness of humanity by denying Jesus for fear of being captured, torched and killed.  Many people over the world today still face persecution and humiliation by non-believing society.  Don’t be so hard on Peter because he had not received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came to fill the hearts of men, Peter was a valiant lion in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

5th. station of the Cross:  Jesus is judged by Pontius Pilate (Luke 23:13-25).  By today’s legal standards, it is unlikely Jesus would have been convicted in any court of law.  Especially since no real evidence against him could be produced.  Pontius Pilate could not find a fault in anything Jesus had done and wanted to release Him. (Luke 23:13-24), but the Sanhedrin demanded Pilate order his execution.  The Sanhedrin, who ruled according to strict Mosaic law and tradition, considered Jesus to be a threat to their ruling authority over the Jews.  Jesus taught the people that Salvation was by the grace of God, not by works, not by the teaching and precepts taught by the Sanhedrin.   The teaching of Jesus undermined the authority of the religious leaders, it also posed a threat to the livelihood that they enjoyed by having control over the Jewish people.  Even today the message of Salvation by power and choice of God, and not by man’s effort is not popular, because the human frailty of man wants to be in charge of his own life, he even wants to have a part in his own salvation.

6th. station of the Cross:   ” Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns (Luke 22:63-65).  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5.  The healing referred to in this scripture is; spiritual healing-which means healing from sin.  The healing is also forgiveness of sins-which mean being a pardon from your sin, and after that, a believer can get restoration to the favor of God, and get complete healing in their life.

  “Jewel of Nuggets” Jesus was scourged, crowned with thorns, mocked, and they smote him, and then they blindfolded him, they struck him on the face and then asked him to prophesy who it was that hit him”, Jesus went through unimaginable pain and suffering so you could be made whole, and receive healing.  We can be healed, accept the healing that God gave through the suffering of Jesus Christ.

7th. station of the Cross:  Jesus takes up His cross (John 19:17).  When Jesus took up His cross, He was carrying much more than wood unknown to the speculators that day,  Jesus was carrying the sins of mankind and facing the punishment those sins deserve, and He was about to suffer on man’s behalf.  Jesus exhorts us in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  “He also says if you want to be one of my sheep taking up your cross is not an option, “anyone who doesn’t take his cross and follow is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38).  Taking up the cross means dying to self, and becoming a new creation in Jesus Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold all thing have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  This means surrendering to God our will, our affection, our ambitions, and our desires.  Surrender to God All.  God will Give back to you what you need.

8th. station of the Cross:  Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His cross (Luke 23:26).  Simon of Cyrene might be considered a victim of circumstances.  He most likely had come to Jerusalem for the Passover festivities and probably knew little about the situation at hand.  The bible doesn’t speak of Simon of Cyrene anymore after he carries Jesus cross upon the hill to Calvary where Jesus would soon be nailed to it.  The Roman Solider ordered Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross of Jesus, and he didn’t resist, probably fearing for his own life.

9th. station of the Cross:  Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-31).  When Jesus encountered the weeping women and some of his disciples on the way to crucifixion, He said to them do not weep for me.  But He cautions them that their concern should be for themselves and their children, considering the rising evil in Jerusalem. (Luke: 23:27-31).  Even while suffering great pain and personal humiliation, Jesus concern was not for himself, but for the lives and souls of those who face the danger of eternal damnation because of the sin in their lives.  The same caution is for Christians today that we should be careful not to allow our care and concern for the world to come before our devotion and obedient to God.  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”.  (John 18:36), and as citizens of heaven, our focus and attention should be there also.

10th. station of the Cross:  Jesus is crucified (Luke 23:33-47).  It is difficult, after two thousand years after the fact, to imagine the horror of the moment as those closest to Jesus was forced to stand helpless by as the spikes were driven through his hands and feet into the wood where he would take His last breath in human form (Luke 23:44-46). His love ones and disciples did not fully understand what was taking place at the time. They were not able to understand that this evil deed of men was the result of divine purpose and planning for the salvation of all who would believe in Christ.  For us today, the Bible says, “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3).  “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved”. (Acts 4:12).

11th. station of the Cross:  Jesus promises His Kingdom to the believing thief (Luke 23:43). It is possible and hopeful that the thief being crucified next to Jesus grasp something special about Jesus, he couldn’t put it into words, but this man was not ordinary, and he was not just dying, he sensed that Jesus had a Kingdom and this thief wanted to go with Jesus to His Kingdom. Now that is faith with no works. (Ephesians 2:8-9).  The thief became the first human to enter paradise by his faith in Jesus, he had enough faith to believe Jesus had a Kingdom.

12th. station of the Cross:  Jesus on the cross speaks to his mother and disciples ( John 19:26-27).  Jesus, in His dying moment, was still putting the needs of others before His own as He selflessly committed the care of His mother to His beloved disciple John (John 19:27).  His entire life, including His death, taught by example that we should put the needs of others before our own, subjecting everything to the perfect Will of God.  The willingness to abide by His Word and demonstrate with action and faithfulness sacrificing to assist and help others are the characteristics of the true Christians.

13th. station of the Cross:  Jesus died on the cross (Luke 23:44-46).  At the moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain in the temple, which separate men from the holy of holies, tore from top to bottom.  This was terrifying for all the Jews who witnessed the event, who did not realize it signified the end of the old covenant and the beginning of the new covenant.  No longer would men have to suffer separation from God because of sin, but we will now be able to approach the throne of grace boldly in prayer for forgiveness of sins.  The life and sacrificial death of Jesus had removed the barrier of sin, making it possible for a man to receive forgiveness of sins.

14th. station of the cross:  Jesus is laid in the tomb (Luke 23:50-54).  After Jesus died and was taken down from the cross, He was laid in a tomb provided by a man named Joseph, from a Jewish town name Arimathea (Luke 23:50-54).  Joseph also happens to be a member of the Sanhedrin but was opposed to the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.  Joseph secretly believes Jesus was the Messiah according to scripture but feared the consequences of acknowledging his belief publicly (John 19:38).  After Jesus died, Joseph went to Pilate secretly and requested the body of Jesus so that he might provide a proper burial.

Jesus’ great sacrifice not only became the atonement for man’s sin, but it also became the victory that would defeat and overcome death, which would have been otherwise the inescapable fate of all men who are born under the curse of sin.  Sin carries its own inescapable penalty and that penalty is death.  Our creator is just and fair and so demanded the penalty of sin be paid.  Because God is merciful and loving, as well as just, He sent His only begotten son to pay the penalty for sins, knowing we were otherwise doomed for all eternity (John 3:16).  God’s love and mercy are greatly demonstrated by the words of Jesus as He hung dying on the cross when He asked God to forgive them who were killing Him in their ignorance (Luke 23:34).  The sinful man who refuses to accept the gift of salvation that Jesus made possible by His sacrifice is surely the product of rebellious ignorance and sin that separate man from the wisdom of God.

Well, another Jewels of Nuggets for the Soul.  Praise the Lord.