Jerusalem…my thoughts stumble as I try to put into words my lessons for today. The Via Dolorosa. The Son of God, God Himself in human form chose to pay our sin debts in full as the final sacrificial lamb. This system of sacrifice and grace, this thread of God’s never-ending provision and unconditional love for us was accomplished right where I stood today.
I love the beautiful analogy in scripture of the relationship between the sheep and their shepherd. But in this incredible story of history, the story of God’s perfect love for us, the shepherd put Himself in the place of the sheep and gave His own life to save theirs.
However, my lesson from today was much different than I expected. Praise God for providing the Holy Spirit to teach us things we would never even attempt to learn. I hope and pray that I can make sense of my thoughts to share these lessons clearly with you.
The street sign says “Via Dolorosa”. The Way of Suffering as we know it. The street is noisy, busy, crowded with people, vendors, shops, trash, and so much more. The stations of the cross (a beautiful tribute to the suffering of Jesus) are posted along the way. But I look around and this enormous awareness passes over me. The world has moved on. Life has continued. I, along with hundreds of others, am walking the very road that Jesus walked as He struggled to carry His cross – my cross. My heart is heavy as I think of the history here. Very few on this street even seem to notice. The Son of God was here. And yet, His brief time on earth was just a vapor int he scope of time eternal, just as mine is. When Jesus died, life continued. The same will happen when I am gone. Now I am in no way trying to lessen the importance of the life of Christ in any way. His life changed the course of history forever and changed my life and your life forever! Victory over sin and death is ours because of the life He lived and His sacrifice. The choice is ours. God made it simple – but not easy. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31)is what the scripture says and I believe it with all my heart. One short life, lived with passion, dedication, focus, and love; culminated in one enormous sacrifice that made the difference between hope and despair. But the world moved on. Some lives have been changed and others have not.
So now I turn the focus on myself. I have already outlived Jesus’ earthly life by 20+ years. What is my passion, my calling, my focus? What changes will have come to the world, my community, my church, my family because I walked on this earth? Am I living with the passion and love required of me as a follower of Christ? Are you?
Before Jesus walked the Via Dolorosa He gave us two commandments – the commandments of the New Covenant. Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (NASB)
Then we are gone, life will move on. Eternity continues. So what can we do to make a difference. We can love! We must love God and we must love others with every ounce of our being. Does the world need an extra dose of love at this very moment? A resounding Yes! should come from all of us. God does not ask us to walk the Via Dolorosa. He did that for us so that we could respond in love. He forgives us our sins so that we can respond in love to others who sin. He gave His life for us so that we could respond in love to a world that is dying in its sin. I challenge you to live every moment with an attitude of love and praise to Almighty God and love and service to others. Do you want to change the world? It happens one person at a time – through love. My focus, my passion, my calling – to love with all my heart.