The Via Dolorosa

By Amy Peterson

“Down the Via Dolorosa…” begins a popular, contemporary song (made famous by artist Sandi Patti) “…called the Way of Suffering.”

Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa . . . is the road or path Jesus took from the place of His condemnation to where, having been crucified, He was placed in the tomb. Along the way are 14 “stations,” or sites marking the events of Good Friday. Some of these are biblically based. Others are based on tradition. The last five stations are within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built in 325 A.D. by Constantine (though it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times since.) The stations were determined during the Crusades when the Franciscans assumed guardianship of the Holy Land. In their way of thinking, it was important for Christians to remember the faithfulness of Jesus as the Christ.

During Holy Week, we remember the final days before Jesus’s crucifixion. The road Jesus traveled to the cross . . . is known today as the Via Dolorosa, the way of sorrows.

But the writer of Hebrews viewed the path Jesus took as more than just a path of sorrows. The way of suffering that Jesus willingly walked to Golgotha made a “new and living way” into the presence of God for us (Hebrews 10:20). . . . . .

Jesus journey down the Via Dolorosa led to His death and resurrection. Because of His sacrifice, we can be made holy when we trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. Even though we aren’t able to keep the law perfectly, we can draw near to God without fear, fully confident that we are welcomed and loved (vv. 10, 22).

Christ’s way of sorrow opened for us
a new and living way to God.

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