The sun beated down on us like a relentless torturer. I took a big swig of water hoping my internal temperature would get the hint and start cooling. It didn’t.
My sister and I tried to keep up with the rest of our tour, but it was hard. The narrow streets of Old Jerusalem were bustling with tourists, merchants, and religious leaders from all faiths. No one wanted to waste the clear day.
I stood on my tippy-toes and peered right, then left. “Sue, where are they? Can you see the rest of the group?” My heart raced and I knew panic would set in soon if we didn’t find them.
We were on our way to the 14 Stations of the Cross and wanted to hear every word from our guide. We pushed ourselves through the mass of people.
Sue pointed. “There they are.”
We rushed to join them just as our guide spoke about the first station—where Jesus was condemned to death. I could almost hear the crowd shouting, “Crucify Him! Give us Barabbas!” I hung my head in shame. How could we do that to Him?
We moved to the second station—where Jesus took up His cross.
“Sue, can you imagine how heavy it must have been?”
We both shook our heads.
Something caught my eye at the fourth station where Jesus met His mother. A red streak dripped from the cross down to Mary’s hands.
I pointed to it. “What is that?”
“Graffiti,” our guide said.
I stood with hands on my hips. “It looks like blood.”
We visited each Station of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa. I pictured Jesus every step of the way. Why did He take our sins to the cross?
Sue and I had an amazing experience walking the Via Dolorosa. Yes, it was scorching that day, but did we care? Nope. Yes, it was crowded, but we felt like we were there 2,000 years ago. I imagine it was busy back then too.
We walked where Jesus walked. Wow.
I pictured Him struggling as He carried His cross. The very weapon that would kill Him would save the world. Interesting. I’m sure His sweat was mixed with blood and dripped relentlessly from His body. His burden slipped, and He fell more than once, but got back up again. Each time. He knew the load He carried, and what would happen in a very short time.
He carried each of our sins—yours and mine—as He walked to Calvary. Then, He nailed them to the cross using His body.
So, what if there was no cross? I shudder to think of the possibility. When I do, I picture a world blanketed in darkness. Evil lurching in every corner. Satan running more rampant than he does today. No hope of survival.
Aren’t you glad Jesus won the victory on the cross? Evil’s veil was torn over 2000 years ago.
The cross—a symbol of God’s love. Of freedom.
At the cross, at the cross
Where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
Isaac Watts (Public Domain)