A Walk in Jerusalem

A Walk in Jerusalem

by John L. Peterson, John Peterson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819217356
Publisher: Church Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/28/1998
Pages: 64
Sales rank: 891,713
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.51(h) x 0.21(d)

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Church Publishing Incorporated

Copyright © 1998John L. Peterson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8192-1735-6



STATION I Jesus Is Judged

So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters, called Praetorium in Greek), and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him.

—Mark 15:15–17

Jesus had been arrested the previous evening in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, at the instigation of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. Those who caused his arrest were unable to convict Jesus of any capital crime by their own laws. They were forced to bring him before the Roman governor on a charge of rebellion against the occupying power, Rome.

Roman Governor Pontius Pilate is uncomfortable with the whole situation. The crowd is unruly. The quiet dignity and calm assurance of the prisoner disturbs Pilate profoundly, but he is too weak to stand up to the crowd. Their shouts of "Crucify him!" become louder and louder. Finally the governor yields, and he sentences Jesus to death by crucifixion, the terrible death reserved for slaves, pirates, and rebels against the state.

The governor orders him to be scourged first. Scourging consists of a beating with a many-thonged whip, each thong tipped with a metal pellet. The beating is administered as a grim kind of mercy to weaken the condemned man so as to shorten his suffering on the cross.

Station I. Jesus Is Judged

Many scholars believe that this judgment of Jesus would have taken place where Pontius Pilate was staying that fateful day when he came down from his home in Caesarea to keep watch over the Passover crowds. Had Pilate been staying at the Jewish King Herod's palace, the judgment would have taken place there, where the Jaffa Gate is now located. Then Jesus' Via Dolorosa would actually have led down the Decamanius (now David Street) to the Cardo (now Suq Khan ez-Zeit) and out the city gate of that day to Golgotha, sometimes called Calvary, where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is now.

If Pilate stayed with the Roman troops at the Antonia Fortress, as the Crusaders decided he had done, then Jesus was judged there and walked the path that we follow today, the Via Dolorosa route mapped in this book. The ancient Antonia Fortress, now the Omariye Muslim College, normally is not available for use, however, because school is in session. Thus the Franciscan monks in Jerusalem open their Church of the Flagellation for the pilgrims.

I particularly like this church because of the crown-of-thorns mosaic on the sanctuary dome, which really sets our theme. Kings and queens in today's world do not wear crowns of thorns. They wear crowns of gold, silver, and other precious metals, set with diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and other precious stones. But the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our King, wears a crown of thorns, a crown that pierces the skin, a crown that causes blood to flow. As we come to this First Station of the Cross we are confronted head-on with a divine reversal. God turns everything we hold so precious absolutely upside down. All the things that we hold so dear—wealth, power, security—are replaced by a crown of thorns. Everything that seems to give us meaning in life—authority, prestige, our own self-importance—is turned upside down by a crown of thorns. It is here at the First Station of the Cross that we see the divine reversal as God's Son wears a crown of thorns.

We will ask ourselves during these fourteen Stations of the Cross whether we are willing to be a disciple of Jesus. How willing are we to wear a crown of thorns?

Let us pray:

For politicians, statespersons, government officials, leaders, especially those in our own countries, that they may seek the common good—peace, equity, and justice;

For judges and magistrates, that they may administer true justice impartially and with mercy;

For those who have power of life and death over others; For every occasion when human beings use their skill to hurt and kill;

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Let us pray:

For those condemned to death for whatever reason;

For those imprisoned, lawfully and unlawfully, justly and unjustly;

For those serving very long or indeterminate sentences;

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Let us pray:

For ourselves;

When we judge others, and for those we condemn;

When we stand judged or condemned, rightly or wrongly;

That we may know the witness and humility of Christ;

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.


STATION II Jesus Receives His Cross

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.

—John 19:16b–17

While they are waiting for those whom they will crucify to be brought from their cells, the soldiers in the execution detail idle the time away with a rough gambling game. They see Jesus as a condemned terrorist whose activities threaten their very lives. So they unhesitantly gamble for the privilege of tormenting him along the way with blows and words.

When the condemned men appear—there are three of them—each receives a single beam to carry across his shoulders to Golgotha. A placard declaring each man's crime will be carried in front of him. The death procession forms, and the order is given to move out through the crowded streets.

At this second station, the Church of the Condemnation, adjacent to the Church of the Flagellation, we actually stand on the beveled flagstones of a Roman road in Jerusalem. While most of the time we will not be walking where Jesus placed his own feet that day, this is one of the few places in Jerusalem where there is original Roman pavement. In most other places we will be walking approximately sixteen feet above the original path.

As we walk the stations today, let us think about those sixteen feet. Every single millimeter, every single inch of dirt on which we walk includes the dust from the shoes and the tears from the eyes of pilgrims. They—we—weep for the prisoner condemned as The King of the Jews, "despised and rejected," carrying so much more than a heavy, bruising, rough beam of wood. He is "enduring the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we should have borne."

Station II. Jesus Receives His Cross

Are we going to leave granules of dirt on our path through our own Jerusalem? We leave grains when we walk across the street to help someone in need, to hold the hand of someone who needs us—when we do anything Christlike.

Let us pray:

For all police officers, prison officers, and those required to carry out death sentences and corporal punishment;

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Let us pray:

For those who mock and torment others and for those who are mocked and tormented;

For all victims of violence and those who commit violence against others;

For those who live under military rule or occupation;

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Let us pray:

For ourselves;

When we mock, insu

Excerpted from A WALK in JERUSALEM by JOHN L. PETERSON. Copyright © 1998 by John L. Peterson. Excerpted by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents




Stations of the Cross          

I Jesus Is Judged          

II Jesus Receives His Cross          

III Jesus Falls for the First Time          

IV Jesus Meets His Mother          

V Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross          

VI Veronica Wipes Jesus' Brow          

VII Jesus Falls a Second Time          

VIII Jesus Talks to the Weeping Women          

IX Jesus Falls a Third Time          

X Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments          

XI Jesus Is Crucified          

XII Jesus Dies on the Cross          

XIII Jesus' Body Is Taken Down from the Cross          

XIV Jesus' Body Is Placed in the Tomb          

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