Pilate has questioned him. Herod has dismissed him. The crowd has rejected him. The soldiers have beaten him. Now he carries the cross.
Perhaps at the darkest moments of our lives we have imagined such cruelty on our worse enemies, but on the innocent?
Jesus never got involved in politics. He didn't seem to care who held power in Israel. He didn't try to become king. In fact, he avoided it, leaving when he thought the crowd was going to force it on him. He didn't fault the Pharisees for trying to keep the traditions from being diluted by the powerful Greek culture. His problem with them was only that they allowed such traditions to take priority over people's relationship with God.
Jesus was an innocent. A man feared by the powerful because of his innocence and purity. And here he walked, beaten, almost to death, exhausted, no strength left, forced to carry this cruel instrument of death. He was a dead man walking.
But even in this there was no peace.
Even in this he was taunted, spat on, despised. No rest for the wicked. But he was the opposite of wicked. He was the essence of goodness and love.
Here he was an innocent. A victim of Rome? A victim of the Jews? Hardly! They had no authority over him, except for what his Father gave them.
Yes, Jesus chose the Father's will over his own. This was his Father's doing. This was the way of redemption for all of creation. The only way.
So on he went. To do his Father's will. Because he loved his Father and obedience, even in death, was never a second thought.
How much did you say you love Jesus? Enough to bey him?
Thank you for the cross. May I have as much determination, love and selflessness to carry my own.