Excerpted from Follow Jesus on the Stations of the Cross
The weight of the cross of Christ was staggering — only the Lord Jesus could carry it for us. No one else could endure all that abuse and, worst of all, take onto himself humanity’s sins of murder, incest, pride, greed, and every other hideously shameful evil. What an enormous burden he carried to reconcile us to the Father!
In the third station of the ancient Stations of the Cross we meditate on Jesus carrying his cross and falling under it’s weight (which is implied in Mark 15:21-22). Think of this as Jesus falling in prayer to Abba for our sake like he did in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42).
In the garden Jesus was in such travail that he sweat drops of blood and three times he cried out to Abba for help. But don’t think he’s trying to get out of going to the cross. No. He’s trying to make it to the cross! Time and again Jesus told his disciples that he was going to the cross to suffer and die for them and all people. Just days before he went to the cross he said: “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28).
Our opportunity is to follow in Jesus’ steps. This begins with responding to his invitation to his sleepy disciples: “Watch and pray with me. Your heart wants to do what is good, but in your natural abilities you are weak so you must fall to your knees in prayer. Join me now and fall into Abba’s arms so that you don’t fall into sin later” (Matthew 26:51, paraphrase).
Reflect and Pray
What burden is weighing you down? Is there a struggle or sin that’s caused you to fall? Let Jesus teach you how to fall into Abba’s arms of love. Bring your burden to Jesus as you watch and pray with him…
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Holy One of God and yet even you fell down under the weight of your cross. You were jeered, mocked, spat upon, and whipped, but you rose again to carry your cross for us to Calvary.
Often we fall down as we carry the weight of our cross, especially in times of trial and temptation. Thank you Jesus that you are always there to lift us up and lead us forward. Please strengthen us to keep following you and to overcome our trials. Remind us that we are not alone, that you help us to carry our burdens, and you lead us into Abba’s arms of love.
Abide in Christ
Try the Breath Prayer: “With Jesus… I fall into Abba’s arms.” (Inspired by Mark 14:36 and Romans 8:15.) Breathe in, “With Jesus…” Breathe out, “I fall into Abba’s arms.” Slowly repeat this to let the words live in your heart.
More Soul Shepherding
Let me guide you on the path to bring your pain, emptiness, and needs to Jesus Christ at his cross. Unforsaken: With Jesus on the Stations of the Cross is my 68-page booklet that’s filled with engaging stories, Scripture meditations on suffering of Christ, and prayers to enliven your heart to God’s unfailing love for you.
You may want to read Follow Jesus on the Stations of the Cross, my devotional practice with Gospel meditations and prayers from Christ’s passion. This has been powerfully healing and transformational for me and many people I work with!
You Can Live in Jesus’ Easy Yoke is my book with inspiring stories, practical examples, and guided experiences to help you overcome stress by walking with Jesus in his “rhythms of grace.”