Easter is approaching! To help you open your heart to Christ and the abundant life that comes through his cross and resurrection I have prepared for you a series of meditations based on the ancient Stations of the Cross.
I’ve written Biblical meditations and prayers for each station and have used them in my personal devotions for many years. I invite you to join me on the life-changing journey of my 68-page booklet: Unforsaken: With Jesus on the Stations of the Cross. These are especially good for the season of Lent. I’ve shared these in retreats, spiritual formation groups, and Ash Wednesday services and people have found them so meaningful. May you experience more of the joy of the cross in your life.
The Joy of the Cross: Jesus Accepts his Cross while his Disciples Flee
“All the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56).
“Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged” (John 19:1).
“’Here is your king,’ Pilate said to the Jews.
“But they shouted, ‘Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!’
“Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified… Carrying his own cross, Jesus went out to the place of the Skull” (John 19:14-17).
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
“For the joy set before him Jesus endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).
Lord Jesus Christ, the cross didn’t overtake you — you seized it! For the joy of obeying the Father and saving us from sin you set out resolutely to Jerusalem to go to the cross and die in our place for us (Mark 10:32-34; John 12:27-28). And you asked your disciples to watch and pray with you so that each of them could take up their cross and follow you (Matthew 16:24, 26:4), but when you were arrested they all fled in fear. They couldn’t accept that their Messiah was letting himself be flogged and crucified.
O King Jesus, forgive me for the ways that I have shrunk back from your cross. It is only there that I receive your forgiveness and healing. Help me, Lord, to take up my cross and follow in your steps out of love for you and so that others can also know your forgiveness and healing.
How have you avoided taking up your cross (denying yourself) to follow Jesus? Can you see that this has held you back from experiencing greater joy in your love for God and others?
Take up your Cross to Follow Jesus
Make time to watch and pray with Jesus that you’d learn to deny yourself and take up your cross for the joy set before you of loving Jesus and other people in his name.
Breathe a Prayer
“Jesus… for you I give up ______.”
Do you struggle with self-condemnation? Judging others? “No condemnation” is a meditation on the way that Jesus responded to being judged by the religious leaders. Opening my heart to Jesus in this gospel scene as done so much to free me of defensiveness, sensitivity to criticism, and being judgmental.