Station Fourteen

Giovanni Bellini (Circle of): Christ Carrying the Cross, ca. 1505-10 (Oil on wood 49.5 x 38.5 cm)

John 10:14-18
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”


John 19:16-17
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).


It might be easy to see Jesus as a victim.  One of his own men betrayed him.  The religious leaders were out to get him.  The Roman authorities killed him to keep the local “big dogs” happy.  Judas—Caiaphas—Pilot, each thought that they were in control.  They were the ones pulling the strings—and certainly they must bear the responsibility for their actions—but Jesus chose to suffer.  He chose to die at their hands.  He made a choice to pick up his cross and to walk towards his own death.  In that action Jesus found great freedom and strength.  He laid down his life—no one took it from him.

O Prince of Life, teach us to stand more boldly on your side, to face the world and all our adversaries more courageously, and not to let ourselves be dismayed by any storm of temptation; may our eyes be steadfastly fixed on you in fearless faith; may we trust you with perfect confidence that you will keep us, save us, and bring us through by the power of your grace and the riches of your mercy. 


Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769) - German Protestant devotional writer and mystic