Luke 23:26 As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.
Making a winding, narrow path through the busy streets of Jerusalem is a road called the Via Dolorosa, or the Way of Suffering. This is the traditional route Jesus walked, carrying his cross from his beating to the place of his crucifixion. Many pilgrims walk this path everyday, some carrying crosses as a symbol of what it means to follow Jesus. Like many places in this land, it can be a helpful reminder that this story we read took place in real time and real space, grounding it in physical experience. But the way of the cross is not a literal path, but the choice to deny ourselves, put Jesus first and choose sacrifice and suffering for the sake of others. How might Jesus be calling you to follow him in the way of the cross today?
Melinda is an ordained Baptist pastor currently working as Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Tabor and Director of Ministry Accreditation for Baptist Churches South Australia. She completed her PhD on the Psalms of Ascents in 2016.