Category Archives: Stations

Easter Sunday – He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!

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Matthew 28:1-8
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Here the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be born again
Here the bells ringing
They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said he has risen, just as he said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the word, he has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah

Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing
Christ, he will reveal it now

The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus’ power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

Joy to the world, he has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah, hallelujah

The angel up on the tombstone
Said he has risen, just as he said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, he has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
Hallelujah
— Annie Herring

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Stations of the Cross 14 – Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb

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Image source: photographed at the San Gabriel Mission Museum.

The native American artist has painted a simple and stark picture to represent the fourteenth station. Everything is dark except the dominant image of the white box slab where Jesus body would be lain upon. In the background, there is a faint representation of a hillside with stick-figure like trees but it is all very dark and almost indistinct. There are several figures to the left and to the right. Are they asleep? Are they dead? Are they prostrated in mourning? It is hard to tell. Everything is dark – except the white box where Jesus body would be lain upon.

Is the artist foreshadowing the resurrection as there is no body of Jesus laying on the white stone slab?

Run an image search on Google with the search terms: “stations of the cross jesus is laid in the tomb.” The gathered images almost always have Jesus body in the painting sometimes covered in burial cloths sometimes not. Sometimes laying on a stone table sometimes not.

On the night before Jesus’ death, he spoke at length to his disciples, in particular some devoted to the reality they soon would experience: that he would die and they would no longer see him and then yet, they would see him again after the resurrection.

John 16:16-22 (NRSV)
“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain:
Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior,
vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!
(Refrain)

Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior;
he tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!
(Refrain)

— Robert Lowry

Stations of the Cross 13 – Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross

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Image source: photographed at the San Gabriel Mission Museum.

As you look at the faces of the women in the painting, they are in grief and saddened by what has happened.

Matthew 27:55-56 (NRSV)
Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Jesus and his immediately family were probably not very wealthy and thus there were no burial plans given how suddenly his life came to an end.

Mark 15:42-47
When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 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. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 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. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

However, God provided for Jesus in the form of Joseph of Arimathea who boldly asked for the body and prepared it for a placement in the tomb. I think I heard a podcast by R.C. Sproul who said that this was the beginning of Jesus’ exaltation in that he was placed in the tomb of a wealthy man and culminating in the glory of resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God!

Luke 23:55-56
The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

John 19:39-41
Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid.

The story of Nicodemus comes full circle. He had visited Jesus back in John 3:1-21 and didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. But God was not finished with Nicodemus and apparently at some point after that encounter, he came to be a follower of Jesus.

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
— Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend

Stations of the Cross Twelve – Jesus Dies on the Cross

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Image source: photographed at the San Gabriel Mission Museum.

John 21:31-34
Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.

In the painting, there are the three women, the three Mary’s (mother of Jesus, wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene) who grieve the death of Jesus. The spear is driven into the side of Jesus that confirms his death. The “INRI” is above the cross refers to the Latin phrase, “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum” that means Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. Interestingly, on the upper left appears to be the sun and on upper right what looks like the moon. The light that dominates the day and the lesser light that rules the night are personified and they appear sad – Jesus, the light of the world, has died.

Most of us have all seen death at some point in our lives. In some cases, our loved one is taken suddenly. In some cases, death is anticipated and we can gather for those final moments. But even anticipated, the moment and the moments afterward takes our breath away and there is sorrow.

For those who are followers of Jesus, we know that there is the victory of Easter Sunday and the glory of Resurrection that is the guarantee that those who trust in him though they inevitably die, will live again!

Nonetheless, we sit with the feelings of the death of Jesus at the Cross. Jesus entered this world to dwell among us. He lived, laughed, cried, did good works, and taught truth and embodied grace. He lived a fully human life and he died. When we arrive at that moment in our lives, we will know that Jesus has walked through it and will walk with us.

Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

Words to the first movement translated from Polish
My son, my chosen and beloved
Share your wounds with your mother
And because, dear son, I have always carried you in my heart,
And always served you faithfully
Speak to your mother, to make her happy,
Although you are already leaving me, my cherished hope.

Stations of the Cross Eleven – Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

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Image source: photographed at the San Gabriel Mission Museum.

Mark 15:25-32
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 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. 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. (NRSV)

Derided him … mocking him … taunted him …

Some claimed they would “see and believe” if he would come down from the cross. That was not the plan. Instead, Jesus would die on the cross and be buried and a bigger miracle would take place: resurrection! He would not come down from the cross he would come out of the grave and up to the right hand of God in victory!

But before all that, he would be derided … mocked … taunted him … and suffer physically from crucifixion. We get our English word excruciate from crucifixion.

excruciate

The artist’s depiction of the scene is sparse. Six people conducting the crucifixion. Three witnesses to the scene.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble tremble tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble tremble tremble
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble tremble tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
likely composed by African-American slaves in the 19th century

Stations of the Cross 10 – Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

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Image source: photographed at the San Gabriel Mission Museum.

John 19:23-24 (NKJV)
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:
“They divided My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.”
Therefore the soldiers did these things.

In the previous paintings, the artist gave the sense of motion toward the left as Jesus carries the Cross to Golgotha. In this painting, the visual cues of movement are gone. Jesus has arrived at the place where he will be nailed to the Cross.

Golgotha also known as “the place of a skull” as it was a small hill reminiscent of a skull is thought to be just outside of Jerusalem’s city walls, hence the artist has provided a simple shape on the left to let us know the destination has been reached. We aren’t sure of the exact location in the modern environs of Jerusalem.

In case you are curious where some of these locations are and what they look like today, check out this blog post by Mark D. Roberts where he organized various photos of his own and of others in and around Jerusalem and along the route of the Via Dolorosa – the sorrowful way.

However, back to the painting and the moment it is urging us to reflect upon. What we see is yet another indignity suffered by Jesus as they take his clothes and divide them up. Crucifixion was not just a way the Romans could kill people. The method is meant to be a public spectacle where the victim is can be mistreated and humiliated.

When we reflect on Jesus’ teaching that we are to take up the cross, this call is for us to surrender our agenda and take up Christ’s agenda. It also means the willingness to bear the shame and indignities that will go along with that choice. Jesus does not ask of us anything he hasn’t endured.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame,
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
— Isaac Watts

Stations of the Cross Nine – Jesus Falls the Third Time

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Image source: photographed at the San Gabriel Mission Museum.

Isaiah 53:1-6 (NASB)
Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

Jesus, the son of a carpenter, lived much of his life in a remote part of northern Israel. So obscure, one of his eventual followers would wonder, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

He has no stately form or majesty …..

In the painting, the artist has all of the soldiers looking down at Jesus …..

He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Jesus falls down. The physical toll is enormous and the spiritual burden incomprehensible.

He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

Man of sorrows what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
— Philip Bliss