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Good Friday ‘Down the Via Dolorosa’

On Good Friday we remember Jesus going to the hill of Golgotha carrying his cross on bloody shoulders. The image of Jesus is not a pretty one. Jesus was beaten (whipped and clawed) beyond recognition, a crown of thorns was placed on his head and nails were placed in his hands and feet.

While on the cross, Jesus spoke seven phrases, according to the gospels. The Seven Last Words are: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34; Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani — My God, My God, why have thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:46; I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise. Luke 23: 43; “Dear woman, here is your son. Here is your mother.” John 19:26; “I thirst.” John 19:28; “It is finished.” John 19:30; “Father, into your hands, I commit my Spirit.” Luke 23: 46   “We remember Jesus› death today. The blood that Jesus shed over 2,000 years ago still works. Jesus’ blood is on our side. It redeems us from our sins — the blood will never lose its power.”

Following the crucifixion, there was an earthquake, and the temple was split in two. Some finally believed that Jesus was the Son of God. Do you believe today?

The challenge for Good Friday is asking — what road of suffering and shame do we face today? Are we going to celebrate Jesus enduring his cross and not recognize our own. Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? Jesus walked down the Via Dolorosa “way of suffering.” Will we walk down our own way of suffering?  

To participate in the resurrection event, we must acknowledge what is dying or dead in our own lives and world. Then what is dying or dead can be resurrected with God’s power. Good Friday reminds us that death is not the end. God has the victory. If you don’t know Jesus, I invite you to let the saving power of Jesus invade your heart. Jesus decided to die, so that you might live. 

A Good Friday prayer: God, I admire your only begotten son, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ life exemplifies all the characteristics that I am striving for. Jesus was smart, compassionate and humble, the sacrificial lamb for all humankind.

For that we thank you. It was love that kept him on the cross — nothing else. Inspire us today to walk down our own Via Dolorosas.

Sometimes, we are scared of suffering, but with suffering comes a resurrection. In Jesus name, Amen.

REV. MATTHEW SHANNON is pastor of Beulah AME Church in Farmville. His email is pastormatthew.shannon@gmail.com.