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Holy Wednesday: The Last Seven Stations of the Cross

The Eight Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-31)
The Daughters of Jerusalem, as they are named in the Bible, come to see Him, mourning and crying. But Jesus tells them not to weep for Him; rather weep for themselves. He knew that the days and months ahead would be harder than those in the past.

Just as Jesus loved the Daughters of Jerusalem, He loves us equally as much.

The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time
The last time Jesus falls is the most injurious of all. He can go no further for He has no strength left. Only the strength of God will see Him up the hill. I pause here to wonder what was going through the onlookers’ minds. Were they afraid to help Him? Afraid of the soldiers’ retaliation against them? His friends and supporters had abandoned him – in fact, many had turned against Him. But how can any person with even an ounce of compassion watch this cruelty and not speak out? Had I been there, would I have spoken out? Would I have tried to assist my Lord? Or would I have abandoned Him? Denied that I knew Him?

Jesus unconditionally loves us, right where we are in our lives.

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments (John 19:23-24)
As if being publicly crucified wasn’t degrading enough, those to be put to death in this manner were also stripped of all but the most essential garments. What humiliation our Savior must have suffered. Not only is He stripped of His clothes, but also of His dignity. The wounds on His back that had begun to close were ripped open again as his clothes were ripped from His back.

Jesus understands our pain, our sorrow, our humiliation because He bore all of that and more on the cross. And He did that because He loves us, without reservation.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross (Luke 23:33-43)
The cross is laid on the ground and Jesus is made to lay on it. Soldiers grab each arm and stretch them across the wood. They line his feet up. And the terrible noise of hammers hitting spikes begins. BAM! WHOOSH! BAM! WHOOSH! With every hit of the hammer against the spike, the ears of the bystanders ring. As the hammer is lifted, one can hear it fly through the air as the soldier raises it high, only to bring it back down to drive the spike further into His hands and feet. When the sounds finally stop, sobbing can be heard throughout the crowd. The soldiers take long white strips of cloth, wrap it around the cross, raise it, and drop it into the prepared hole. With every jerk of the cross as it is being lifted, the nails bite into Jesus’ flesh a little more. I cannot imagine the agony that flowed through His body.

Even in the midst of pain and agony, WE were on His mind. He bore all of this because of His great love for us.

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross (John 19:28-37)
Jesus was crucified between two criminals. Before dying, He pardons the sins of one. He sees His mother standing at the foot of the cross and John standing close by. He gives John the task of taking care of His mother. With His earthly responsibilities discharged, He breathes His last breath. Imagine how Mary must have felt. Grief that her Son was no longer on earth, but relief that He was no longer suffering.

Jesus did this because He loves you, just like you are, no strings attached.

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross (John 19:38-40)
Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Accompanied by Nicodemus, the two men lovingly wrapped Jesus’ body in strips of white linen and herbs – aloe and myrrh. Some of their tears of grief mixed with the aloe and myrrh. What an act of service and love and sacrifice. Just like Jesus.

Jesus sacrificed His all for us because of His great love for us.

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb. (Mark 15:46-47)
Jesus is laid in a tomb that Joseph and Nicodemus thought would be His final resting place. The huge stone that was rolled in front of the tomb, sealing it off completely, was the final sign of Jesus’ death.

This not-so-final station was part of God’s plan all along. Jesus was crucified, bearing the sins of you, me – all of humanity, so that we will have eternal life with Him. This is part of His plan of salvation.

(Romans 5:6-11) “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (emphasis mine)

Re-read verse eight – over and over again. Knowing we were sinners, knowing we deserved only death because of our sin, God STILL sent His Son to die in our place. And He did it because He LOVES us – unconditionally, extravagantly, recklessly, beyond our comprehension!
If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, may this Easter season be the time you become His child. If you do know Him, take this season to deepen your relationship with Him.

God is not angry with you. He has not forsaken you. He has forgiven you. He loves you.

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