After we left Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, located now within the Church of Holy Sepulchre, we headed down the Via Dolorosa. All day I had the song in the video above in my head. Okay, sometimes I couldn’t help but sing a little of it out loud.
I’m one of those people. I usually have a song in my head that occasionally accidentally comes out for others to hear.
The Via Dolorosa means “the way of suffering.”
Jesus did not get to head down it as we did. He walked UP it, to Calvary, after being brutally beaten by Roman soldiers, and carrying a cross on his back.
So what is the Via Dolorosa?
It is simply the path Jesus took as he carried his cross up the hill to Golgotha, where he was crucified.
What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
23“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” (Matthew 27:22-23)
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
25All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
26Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Matt. 27: 24-26)
Funny story: Alan met this German man on his flight from Sweden to Tel Aviv, and then we ran into him on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem! You never know who you will see again.
It’s a beautiful city. I loved these trees, which were everywhere.
I don’t know what this pathway looked like back in the days of Jesus. Our tour guide said there were no buildings here then.
These days, in order to trace the Via Dolorosa, you actually have to walk through a Muslim market area.
The video above is our Israeli tour guide talking to us about it. She was outstanding. The video may be hard for you to hear, though, unless you have a device that’s capable of loud volumes.
Station 9 on the Via Dolorosa: I think she said this is one of the places where Jesus fell.
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. (Matt. 27: 27-31)
Station 7 is in an extremely busy area. Actually, pedestrian traffic was high the whole way.
Yes, they sell American sports team gear in Jerusalem too. LSU, anyone?
Where Simon took the cross.
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.
33They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). (Matthew 27: 32-33)
The lights hung above us remind us that we are standing in a Muslim area, where they were celebrating Ramadan at the time that we were there.
crossing through the Muslim market
We couldn’t get close enough to get a picture of the giant gold-domed mosque. These guards only let Muslims past the stairs.
Alan, placing his hand where the legend was that Jesus had stopped and held on to the wall.
And this is us at the security checkpoint to the famous Western Wailing Wall. Yes, we went there too. We’ll talk about that next time!
crowded street through the Muslim market, overlapping the Via Dolorosa
“From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.
46About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
Back in those days, the Bible wasn’t divided into chapters and verses the way we do today. They named a passage by the first words of that passage. “Eli, Eli, lemsabachtani” is Jesus not only crying out to God, but also referencing Psalm 22.
This part will give you chills, if you stop and realize what Psalm 22 is. It is a promise fulfilled by Jesus:
Psalm 22 is long, but it begins like this:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
and it ends like this:
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!
True. He has done it. Praise the Lord!