In the first week's selections for Devotions for Lent, you'll notice a painting by Pablo Sanchez. The title of the painting is Via Crucis which translates as "The way of the cross." It is a fitting visual to begin a forty day journey with Jesus into the wilderness because all true discipleship consists of walking the way of Jesus, which just so happens to be the way of suffering. At the end of the book of Mark, there is a scene that illustrates this well. (Many scholars believe Mark actually ends in 16:8, and that the rest was added in an attempt to "clean things up" a bit.) On that first Easter Sunday the women who had stayed with Jesus until the end made their way to the tomb only to discover a messenger who announced to them that Jesus had risen. He gave them the instruction to tell the disciples to go to Galilee, where Jesus had already gone ahead to meet them. The final verse is telling... Mark 16:8: "And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid."
What a way to end a gospel!
"They were afraid."
After hearing that Jesus had risen, why was fear present? Maybe the answer lies not in the resurrection, but in the final instructions-- Go to Galilee, where Jesus will meet you.
Galilee. The place where the ministry of Jesus began. The place that set Jesus onto the road toward the cross. The beginning point of suffering. The way of Jesus may end in resurrection (thanks be to God it does,) but it begins on a journey to the cross.
Take a few moments to look over Sanchez's painting and reflect on the following questions...
1. What do you notice about the people carrying the cross?
2. Where do you find yourself in this painting? Where do you want to find yourself in this painting?
3. In Waco we live in a culture in which it might cause more suffering, shame and ridicule if you aren't a Christian than if you are. What does the "way of the cross" look like to those in Waco, TX?
4. What else do you see in this painting that speaks to you about discipleship and being formed in the image of Jesus?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section...