Today is Easter Sunday.
Christians all over the world celebrate Easter as a reminder of Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead after the crucifixion on the cross more than 2000 years ago.
With my recent pilgrimage to Israel, we were brought to the route where they believed it is ‘The Way of the Cross‘, or Via Dolorosa, which marks Jesus Christ’s final path through the streets of Jerusalem to his Crucifixion. There were 10 stations before the nailing of Christ on the cross.
First station was where Pontius Pilatus, a Roman Procurator, who condemns Jesus to death.
Second station was where Jesus takes up the Cross. This is also where Pontius Pilatus presented Jesus to the crowd proclaiming,”Behold the Man!”
We did something very memorable here. We had taken turns to carry a replica of the Cross which is slightly lighter than the actual one. Four of us carried it together while we walked through Via Dolorosa.
Third station was where Jesus falls for the first time under the weight of the Cross.
Fourth station was where Jesus meets his mother. (Third and fourth station was side by side only.)
Fifth station was where Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross. There was a handprint of Jesus left on a nearby wall.
Sixth station was where Veronica wipes Jesus’ face.
Seventh station was where Jesus falls for a second time.
It was my turn to carry the cross. Honestly speaking, I could not hold on my tears when the reenacting of the cross began from 2nd station. I could not imagine how heavy the cross will be for Christ to carry alone, and to walk such a long way to the crucifixion place.
Eighth station was where Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem.
Ninth station was where Jesus falls for a third time. This is the Gate of Coptic Patriarchate.
Then, the tenth station was where Jesus is stripped of his garments.
Golgotha (known as Calvary to some people), is a site outside the ancient city walls served as stone quarry, and it is where the crucifixion of Jesus took place.
In the 70AD, the Romans destroyed the city during the Jewish Revolt. However in 135AD, there was a reconstruction for this place and the Hadrian has ground levelled to build Temple of Aphrodite and the tomb was covered.
Then in 323AD, under the Byzantine Period, Jesus’ tomb was uncovered during construction. Thus it became a Christian City under the Emperor Constantine. Of course, there were wars and battles that took place in the Holy City.
Centuries later in 1149AD, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Basilica and chapels united under one roof) was restored and dedicated after Christians recapture city, ending the 400 years of Muslim rule.
This is the Eleventh station, where the soldiers begin to nail him on the cross.
12th station was where Jesus died on the cross.
Here I was, staring at the replica cross, imagining the situation of 2000 years ago.
All of us queued up to touch the stone quarry where the crucifixion happened. Tears just kept overflowing.
13th station was where the removal of Jesus from the cross.
14th station was where Jesus is buried.
In fact, I am glad that my pilgrimage to Jerusalem has opened up my eyes to see how Christ has endured for us.
Today, the tomb of Jesus is empty.
This is simply because He has resurrected from the dead and He lives in us.