And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. (Matthew 27:31)
His Walk To Golgotha
In a recent blog about his trip to Jerusalem, Ken Weliever commented on the “fascinating mixture of sights, sounds, and even smells” as they walked around the ancient city. It is incredible to see the places Jesus literally walked as He lived among men so many years ago. The pool of Bethesda is still where it was two-thousand years ago when Jesus healed a man with an infirmity of 38 years. The most significant walk for Ken was when they made their way to the “Via Dolorosa, which is Latin for the way of suffering or the sorrowful way. It is the path tradition says that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion.” There is no certainty Jesus walked this path but the possibility exists. I could not help but think of the moments after the scourging and mockery by the soldiers of Herod as they lead the Son of God away to be crucified, what Jesus saw along the way, what He heard from the clatter of the city and what smells wafted among his senses as death began to encroach upon His spirit. His walk to Golgotha was filled with all of the sights, sounds, and aromas of a world He had created with His own hand. He knew what remained at the end of His journey. His many journeys to Jerusalem Golgotha would not have been an unknown place for Him. To see a man crucified was not uncommon. Was there a time in the life of Jesus as He walked among the city of David a man was being led away to die by crucifixion and He reflected on the day He would make that walk? Scripture does not tell but the realities of the stench of death would have filled the minds of all who walked among the crowded streets of Jerusalem as men were put to death by the hand of the Romans.
Luke tells us that as Jesus was taken to Golgotha a great multitude of the people followed Him and women who also mourned and lamented Him. Two criminals were taken with Jesus along the path to the cross. Hearing the lamentations of the women, the Son of God exhorted the daughters of Jerusalem to be warned of coming judgment by the same hands that had taken Him away. There was a great and dreadful day coming and Jesus could hear the sounds of those who mourned for Him but He knew a greater dread still was to come. As He walked to the cross, what did the Son of God see? There were many people who looked at Him with derision and eyes of contempt. Some were filled with hatred while others simply looked with disinterest. God’s Son walked among the crowded shops and markets of Jerusalem to be nailed to a cross and He could have called twelve legions of angels to deliver Him but what He saw in the faces of the people was a need for spiritual light. Jesus would walk to Golgotha to become that light bringing hope in the hearts of the hopeless He saw on the way to the cross. The eyes of Jesus were filled with a world He had created and now was going to kill Him.
As Jesus passed the markets did He smell the varied dishes prepared for sale and hear the cry of those who sold their wares? What did the city smell like when Jesus walked through? The senses of the human body are incredible memory capacitors that embed themselves in the mind. The world was filled with the sense of smell and Jesus drunk deeply as He walked toward Golgotha. He saw the desperate hearts of the people, heard the cries of grief and sorrow and yes laughter and derision from His detractors and inhaled deeply of the beautiful world He had created. His walk to the cross was an experience of all of the senses of the body. Wracked with unyielding pain, weakness, blood loss, and weariness, the Son of God trudged toward the hill of Calvary. The world filled itself with all the sights, sounds and aromas of the city of Jerusalem unaware that in a short time the greatest sacrifice of love would be offered by a man crucified between two thieves. On the cross, Jesus saw the faces of those gathered around including His dearest mother. He looked on the faces of the Romans as they drove the nails in His body He knew why He had come. Many who had come to watch Him die cried out with anger and contempt and Jesus saw their darkened hearts in need of grace. The smell at Golgotha must have been revolting as death was a constant reminder in this place of crucifixion but the sweet aroma of life was about to burst on the pages of man’s existence. Jesus hung on the cross and He saw a world in need of mercy, heard the sorrow of man begging for grace and smelled the victory of eternal life in His death and resurrection. What Jesus saw in His death was the face of His Father, the love of God in sending His only begotten Son and smelled the paradise of redemption as He gave up His Spirit. Let us walk the way of suffering so that we may see what Jesus saw, hear what Jesus heard and smell the grace of God in the death of Jesus.