The Way of Suffering.
His agony was more real to me as I walked down that crowded and narrow street just a few weeks ago.
The whips and the beatings caused his body to bleed.
The hatred and anger etched upon the faces of the people he passed by must have hurt even more. These were the people he loved enough to die for. And they spit on him as the blood flowing down over his head mixed with the tears dripping down his face.
It’s a narrow street. It was filled with people and merchants on the day I walked down it just like it had been the day Jesus dragged his cross down it. There wouldn’t have been much room. I’m sure Jesus felt the pressure of humanity weighing down him just as much as the weight of the cross.
It was very personal.
And very ugly.
Isaiah’s prophecy from 700 years before Jesus was born rang through my head as I made my way down the Via Dolorosa:
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him. Nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, and we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted.
But he was pierced by our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.
We all like sheep have gone astray – each of us to his own way.
And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Thank you, dear Jesus.