Friday, March 25, 2016

A Liturgy: Experience Christ ( Stations of the Cross VII and VIII)

Station # 7: Jesus Falls the Second Time

For many of us, falling down is all too familiar on our road to destiny. Take heart; Jesus has fallen again in the midst of a screaming, mocking crowd. It certainly feels that way to those of us that have fallen, the mocking of those around us drown out all other noise. Jesus knows what we are feeling,

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” {Hebrews 4:15 NASB}.
Be encouraged, when we fall, Jesus is there with His Grace and Mercy to pick us back up again, to wipe our face from all the trials and tribulations; nothing matters in the light of His love.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: While we look not at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal {2 Cor. 4: 17-18 NASB).

We cannot always see why we suffer certain circumstances; we can be encouraged knowing that as we abide in Jesus we can do all things. We just have to keep getting up no matter how many times we fall. The only perfect person in the Bible is Jesus. We do not need to be perfect; we just need to be obedient.

Station# 8: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” {Luke 23: 28-31 NASB}.

The Daughters of Jerusalem are a band of anonymous women that follow Jesus on the Via Dolorosa; Veronica may have been with these women. They follow Him from Pilate’s decree all the way to the Golgotha. They are weeping because of the torture, and the injustice of Jesus’ death sentence.

It is amazing that Jesus, in everything He was suffering, stopped to minister to these women. In God’s divine purpose, Jesus was able to stop to talk with these faithful women. They feel helpless; they can do nothing. Though they are faithful to Him, He admonishes them. He tells them not to mourn for Him; He is securing their salvation. By the end of the day, eternity is sealed; mourn for those who will not believe. There will come a day when things are going to get ugly for those who will not accept Christ; pray for them.
These women wept for Christ because they loved Him. Not only did they follow Him from Pilate’s to Golgotha, they had been traveling with Jesus and the disciples for some time. Have we really wept for what Jesus suffered on our behalf? Not because we do not have hope, as the Daughters of Jerusalem, but in worship. Have we meditated on what Jesus endured? As we read in Veronica, Jesus endured horrific physical abuse. He also felt the sting of personal betrayal. Though I mentioned these verses in Veronica, they bear repeating:

Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; They have laid siege against us; With a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek {Micah 5:1 NASB}.

I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting {Isaiah 50:6 NASB}.

Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men {Isaiah 52:14}.

These are just a few Old Testament Scriptures detailing His physical abuse, and then the betrayal:

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me {Psalm 41:9 NASB}.

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend; We who had sweet fellowship together
Walked in the house of God in the throng
{Psalm 55:12-14 NASB}.

I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD {Zechariah 11:12-13 NASB}.

Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones {Zechariah 13:7 NASB}.

For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue {Psalm 109:2 NASB}.

Is it any wonder that we have a great High Priest who is familiar with our sufferings (see Hebrews 4:15)? How can we not be moved by what Jesus suffered? I never quite understood how many Christians I know would not watch The Passion of the Christ. The whipping post scene was hard to watch, but I think everyone should have a picture of what Christ really suffered. Gibson’s portrayal was graphic, though it still did not covey the depth of the physical abuse Christ suffered. Through those brutal wounds—we were healed {Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24}.

The Daughters of Jerusalem were weeping for Jesus when few cared. They were overtaken with grief at the brutality being inflicted on the Lord. It is hard for us to imagine this side of the cross, the helplessness they must have felt. They did not have the full revelation of why Christ had to die, so in their minds, they were weeping for the seemingly unjust punishment of Jesus. They knew that He would die, and thought they would never see Him again.

Their sense of loss was immense, for they did not realize He would be alive again in three days. We have the gift of being on this side of the cross, knowing full what Jesus did for us, and realizing He had to die, and because of that knowledge, we have hope. These women did not have a shred of hope.

I love the Lord, I love how He always took notice of hurting people, and this occasion was no different. Jesus, in the midst of all the chaos, people shouting and hurling insults at Him from every side, marred and beaten—unrecognizable and probably blinded by the beatings to His face, stopped to minister to these weeping women.

A great and terrible day is on the horizon for the earth, the day when the Lord returns. Jesus is going to the cross to save anyone that will accept Him. For those that do not, that day will be frightening to say the least.

Jesus is saying to these women, not to mourn for Him, for He is going to the cross to redeem them and the world. He is going to secure the future of all who believe in Him. Though he accepts their weeping as worship, He encourages them to shift their prayers from Him, to those who will be left on earth during that horrible time. He is calling them to pray for the nations.

They weep for Him and His suffering, but He calls their attention to those who do not accept Him, and for the destruction that will come on the earth. Somehow, in God’s divine purpose Jesus was able to stop long enough to talk with these faithful women. They had followed Him from Pilate’s fatal decree, to the cross. Following Jesus, no matter what comes, until the very end; a powerful example for us.

Pilate’s decree rings loud, we cannot believe what’s heard;
This is His judgment? We hoped and prayed, this is what we feared.
This Holy Man who saved many, can’t He save Himself from death?
Why must He suffer so, we can hardly catch our breath.
We will follow Him until the end, and pray God intervenes;
Such brutal torture unlike anything we have seen.
What can we do, the Lord is on His way to die?
We cannot stop this injustice, though we weep, wail, and cry.
How can He ask us not to weep? We are filled with awe.
To pray for those that don’t believe, they will one day crawl,
To the feet of the Lord for mercy wishing they had heard;
The decree from Zion, the awesome power of His Word.

©2012 Piper Green
Poem Originally posted in A Life That Sings; Finding Your Song In The Midst Of Brokenness

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