Stumbling toward the cross – Station 3

Station 3 – Jesus falls for the first time

Jesus staggering up the path toward the place of the skull carves the path that we also walk––the via dolorosa––if we are to follow him. Tradition says that Jesus fell three times on his slow walk toward the place where he would be crucified. In the third station we reflect on the first fall of Jesus.

In few other places in the stories of Jesus are we so starkly confronted with his humanity, weakness, and the ways in which he is like us as he buckles under the weight of wooden beams and dehumanizing spectacle.

We are faced with Jesus’ persistence in his pursuit of holiness, obedience, and embeddedness within the earth community.

Matthew 4:1-4

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came to him and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

At every turn through his years of service to others, Jesus resisted power. There is something about weakness and a rejection of power that reveals the mystery of God. In a great reversal, scriptures speak of a power that emerges out of weakness. The Apostle Paul writes of power being made perfect in weakness.

The mystery of following Jesus into weakness and to the cross is one that results in power, but one that is different from common conceptions of power. This power is not for ourselves, but for others. Power is reserved for the few who are strong, rich, or self-made, but in the Commonwealth of God power is turned upside down. We follow the pattern of Jesus, who emptied himself of power and became weak, transferring power to others.

Prayer: May I have the courage to be weak, but first learn what it means to be weak. 

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