Jesus is Condemned

Welcome to the pastors’ Lenten Devotion. Every weekday either Pastor David or I will reflect on one of the fourteen traditional Stations of the Cross. We will provide an image that will guide our inner journey as we follow Jesus’ journey from condemnation to the tomb.

(1) Jesus is condemned, (2) taking up the cross (3) falling (4) meeting his mother (5) Simon of Cyrene helping carry the cross (6) the cloth that wipes his face (7) falling again (8) meeting the crowds in Jerusalem (9) falling a third time (10) stripped of his clothes (11) nailed to the cross (12) Jesus’ death (13) taken down from the cross (14) and laid in the tomb

These are the 14 scenes in which we will immerse ourselves. And lest we rush from one to the next, we will linger on each for two days, following the intentionality that is integral to Lenten discipline.

In our first scene, on this Ash Wednesday, Jesus is condemned to death. What a fitting way to begin. For it is on this day, of all days, when we are reminded that we are mortal and by being mortal our ultimate fate is death as well. But even in this picture, even on this day, there is still Gospel. Next to the soldiers who stand behind Jesus, a mocking show of force to our prince of peace. Behind the magistrate who believes the letters behind him give him the power to convict an innocent man. In the face of a man who knows what his fate will be, there is still Gospel. Look closely at the picture. Do you see it?

What you see is a man who is condemned to death, but through this condemnation and eventual death, God will show the world that the dust does not have the final word. So we need not fear as we start out on our journey. For though the road to Golgotha is treacherous, though ashes remind us that we are dust, always remember that neither this magistrate nor that dust has the final word.

Have a holy and blessed Ash Wednesday.

Pr. Daniel Joyner Miller