As you follow the “way of suffering” you will experience what it might have been like as Jesus carried His cross toward His execution (Mark 15:20). You can share with the Master what must have been the agony of the Nine Stations of the Cross.
Starting just inside the Old City of Jerusalem’s Lion’s Gate, near what was once the Antonio Fortress where the Master was held and beaten (Mark 15:19), you start your way westward toward the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The first station is dedicated to the biblical account of the trial and Jesus’ scourging (John 19:1-3) while the second memorializes the ecco homo speech of Pilate that we read about in John 19:5. Before you stands the Church of Ecce Homo under which lies the very pavement on which Pilate judged Christ (John 19:13).
Now begins the first of the traditional three falls.
Under the crushing weight of the cross that he has been forced to bear, Jesus falls to the ground.
If you listen closely you still hear the sigh of the crowd as they look on in astonishment. A stone relief on the nearby wall depicts the Master prostrate under His cross.
Moving on to the fourth station, tradition relates how Jesus met with his mother Mary at this point. One can only imagine what the Master had to say to his grieving mother.
At the fifth station Simon of Cyrene was compiled
by the Roman guards to carry the cross (Mark 15:21).
Imagine our beaten Lord gaining some relief from this temporary moment of release from his burden.
Although not mentioned in the Bible and accepted only as tradition, the sixth station is dedicated to the woman Veronica’s wiping away the sweat from the Masters face.
It is believed that an image of Jesus’ face remained on the cloth.
Again, Jesus falls at the seventh station, although this is only a tradition. At the eighth station Jesus stops and delivers
a sermon to a group of weeping pious women saying: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’”
And then finally the ninth station where Jesus fell again
before reaching Golgotha and the place of His crucifixion.
His blood matted head crowned with thorns, bearing the heavy wooden cross, our Lord had reached the point to which He had been destined when He said in the Garden of Gethsemane “Thy will be done.” (Luke 22:42)
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