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The Journey Begins The Journey Begins

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The Journey Begins

Posted on Sun, Apr 1, 2012

Palm Sunday - Mark 15: 1–47

 

Palm Sunday 2012

Gospel Text: Mark 15: 1–47

As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2 Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ 3 Then the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ 5 But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed. 6 Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. 7 Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. 8 So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. 9 Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ 10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do* with the man you call* the King of the Jews?’ 13 They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ 14 Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. 16 Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters*); and they called together the whole cohort. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ 19 They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20 After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. 21 They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22 Then they brought Jesus* to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’ 27 And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.* 29 Those who passed by derided* him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ 31 In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah,* the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. 33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land* until three in the afternoon. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’* 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ 37 Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he* breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’* 40 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem. 42 When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. 45 When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then Joseph* bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body,* wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body* was laid.

 

 

The Stations of the Cross.

 

The First Station: Jesus is condemned to death.

 

When you walk the streets of Old Jerusalem. If you look carefully, you will find numbers and explanations of the Via Dolorosa, meaning “the way of suffering,” or “the way of grief” marking the journey Jesus walked on the way to Golgotha. If you have ever wondered if God has walked in your footsteps, It is a place where you can walk in God’s footsteps. It is from the Antonio Fortress to the Holy Sepulchre and is only about 2000 feet long. 

 

Within the story of Christs’ passion, we witness a play, a play featuring a weak-minded judge. Pilate is afraid – he is afraid of the Jews, of Caesar, the people and even of Jesus. The fact that he ‘washes his hands’ of responsibility is the crowning sign of his weakness. He had human, power, but nothing like the power that Jesus was about to accomplish through Pilate’s weakness.

 

“Judge not so that you won’t be judged.”

 

We all judge. Oftentimes we judge needlessly and rashly. Who am I to really judge the motives of another? Can I ever judge rightly?

 

Sometimes, I have to make a judgment. I pray dear Lord, let me do so with justice and mercy.

 

Let my motives always be love. Love of God and love of neighbor, and never of myself.

 

The Second Station: Jesus takes up his cross.

 

The cross is synonymous with a heavy burden… something heavy, unwieldy and definitely unwanted.

 

Jesus, by carrying his own cross, He made the cross the ultimate symbol of victory. Through Jesus’ cross, the sting of death was conquered. The Cross of Jesus now becomes something mystically desirable, and eternally essential.

 

Jesus says, “My yoke is sweet, easy and light.”

 

What is my cross?

 

Is it facing myself, and all of my own failings, imperfections, doubts and fears?

 

Jesus, says, “Take up your cross daily and follow me.” It is an invitation, not a curse.

 

The Third Station: Jesus falls the first time.

 

It is amazing to think that Jesus, fully human and fully God, could fall… This is an indicator how much Jesus was like us, we all fall, but he did not fall according to his sin, but the weight of our sin.

 

He was born and nursed like any baby; he grew up like any child.

 

He was subject to the same forces of nature we are everyday.

 

He was a man, as physically weak as any man, remember his prayer, “Father, if is possible, let this cup pass from me…”

 

De we know our own weaknesses? Is there any part of our troubles that is actually stronger than we actually think it is?

 

Do we stumble due to overconfidence?

 

Lord, help us to know our weaknesses and petty faults that separate us from your mercy and grace. Forgive us of our thoughtlessness towards others, our carelessness in prayer, our impatience; free us from our own opinions.

 

Help me Jesus to learn, grow and mature from my mistakes. Help to lean on you…

 

Fourth Station: Jesus meets his blessed mother

 

Can you imagine this scene? From the words of faith she uttered in the Magnificat to this moment of having to give up her son in such a cruel way?

 

Inexpressible anguish! And there was nothing she could do to save her beloved son.

 

Was it her understanding of God’s plan that might have comforted her? Was it that fact that even though she knew she was ‘blessed,’ this did not relieve the pain of this moment of separation from her son?

 

Gracious God, strengthen all of us in times of transition, separation or sudden changes, even if we know we are still and will forever be called your children.

 

The Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross.

 

Who was Simon? All we may know is that he was from another country and possibly another race, but he still falls under the boot of the Roman soldiers and he is ordered to carry Jesus’ cross.

 

After being separated from the crowd for this task, how do you think he felt? Afraid? Angry? Was he just resolved to obey out of fear for his own life?

 

In the years to come, doo you think he ever realized whose cross he carried?

 

Lord, we ask for strength when we are suddenly thrust into a position of caring, or demands we do not understand. Free us from fear and anger. Free us from always demanding everything should go our own way, for your ways are almost always, very different from our way of thinking or planning.

 

The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

 

A simple act of charity, however very heroic.

 

The context is chaos, fear and the anticipation of an execution, yet she stands up and wipes the face of Jesus out of … sympathy, compassion…

 

I wonder what I would have done if I was her, or Simon, Peter, Judas…

 

But such wondering is fruitless. I need to ask, what would I do now, when there are hungry, homeless, lonely, fearful people out there right now.

 

Lord God, open my heart, mind and soul to see your mercy and grace connecting us all the object of your love and redemption.

 

The Seventh Station: Jesus falls a second time.

 

Jesus was born to die; the swaddling clothes and the gifts of frankincense and myrrh become a prophesy to his purpose and future.

 

He was a man, beaten and scourged, bleeding and bruised, carrying not just his cross, but the weight of every cross every human being would be forced to carry.

 

There is no sham in Jesus’ humanity. I take my forgiveness for granted so easily… but for Jesus to accomplish my salvation; he carried the weight of all people from the past, present and future down that road of sorrows.

 

God give me strength to persevere in my own sorrows. Never let my conscience become callous and unfeeling. Help me to trust and strengthen my weakness.

 

The Eighth Station: The women of Jerusalem mourn for Jesus.

 

The pain and suffering was so obvious. The fickleness of the people was so painful to acknowledge. One day they are crying out, “Hosanna!” to Jesus as he enters Jerusalem, and a day or so later, the same people are screaming out, “Crucify Him!”

 

The women saw the injustice. They knew about who Jesus was as a healer, preacher and teacher. They saw what was going on before their eye and how it was shameful to all of humankind. Not surprising, it was the women who saw this, felt the pain, and mourned Jesus and the moment they were being forced to witness.

 

How would the future judge them? They could only cry and mourn for Jesus. They were crying and mourning for themselves.

 

Do I mourn for the right things? “Woe upon you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.” “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh with Joy!”

 

Gracious God, give us the spirit/wisdom to see with eyes of faith and truth in order to mourn where you mourn. Comfort where you comfort.

 

The Ninth Station: Jesus fall the third time.

 

Is this the “Triumphant Journey?” Did the people see Jesus as “Triumphant?” Or was their heart only seeing a beaten and fallen ‘criminal.’

 

How do we see the beaten and downtrodden? Is our heart cold and full of judgment and anger? When we see someone down, are we dry of love?

 

As we have taken care of the least of these, you have done it unto me…

 

The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His clothes.

 

“6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited; 
7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 
8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

 

Jesus had very little possessions, no home, no donkey or car. But humankind, even at this time, stripped him of everything he had, and he left humiliated and naked.

 

Complete love is like that. In order to fulfill the promise of salvation, Jesus was stripped of everything he had, for the purpose of reconciling our relationship with God, from that moment to forevermore.

 

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross.

 

The act itself is beyond the cruelty needed to describe it, yet crucifixion was a common event in Jesus’ day.

 

The unimaginable pain Jesus endured on that cross, continues in so many different forms even today! The cruelty of war, the violence of senseless crimes, the brutality even occurring in homes against children and spouses. The violence brought up the very face of the earth, only for the purpose of enriching a few.

 

The cruelty continues today.

 

But the faith and mercy that was given to us, is strong enough to guide our church in illuminating injustice, standing with those Jesus would stand with, and give us the strength to worship, sing and dance knowing that the Gospel is more powerful than all cruelty!

 

The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the Cross.

 

At this time, the exact and correct time, Jesus says, “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” At that moment Jesus’ obedience to our salvation is complete, and in this obedience, we see the Glory of God.

 

The curtain separating humankind from the Holies of Holies in the temple is torn from top to bottom, and the Glory of God is now free to roam among all peoples, no longer kept in a box of a building.

 

Jesus, from that cross has drawn all people to Himself, and through his sacrifice, our debt is paid… “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

 

Through Jesus’ death, you have been given life. Your faith is the fruit of Jesus’ death.

 

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the Cross.

 

Jesus’ body is now just a lifeless shell. It is not at all like the man who made whips and threw the moneychangers out of the temple. It is lifeless, yet it is still Jesus, and this body will be placed in the tomb of a man who came to faith through the words and actions of Jesus. Even though Jesus’ body is lifeless, the promise of, “on the third day I will rise again,” is still very much alive in the hearts of a few.

 

Lord give me the faith to see and believe in your gospel with there appears to be too much death around.

 

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is placed in the tomb

 

It is from this cold and lifeless room, we will see God’s POWER made known in the resurrection of Jesus.

 

I can hear the sound of the stone door rolling down a stone track and falling into a notch cut out of the stone, sealing the body in total separation and darkness… but on the third day, that very same stone will be moved away, and a very much alive Jesus will emerge.

 

From that tomb a very compassionate Jesus will emerge and begin the process of healing the broken hearts and faith of Peter, Thomas and so many.

 

From this tomb a very much alive Jesus will meet the women, of course the women, and He will send them off as the first missionaries to begin the healing of the entire universe! One person at a time.

 

Amen.

 

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