Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time
+We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.
“Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sins of his people, A grave was assigned him among the wicked, and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. [But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.] If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; And he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.” Isaiah 53:8-12
For the third time, Jesus falls under the weight of the cross. For the third time, the One Who is Word of life, Who is first born of all Creation, the One through Whom all things came to be shows Himself too weak to bear the load of wood placed on His shoulders, the instrument of His torture and execution.
How many times do we fall under the weight of life’s circumstances that prove too heavy for us to carry? How often do we feel like quitting, not getting up and wallowing on the ground, which at least is solid, so there’s no farther to fall?
Jesus had a mission. He was not the focus of that mission. The focus of His mission was outside Himself, on others. He was a man completely for others. He knew what He was about, and it was not for wallowing on the ground or in His misery. He suffered like no other, but He also knew His mission belonged to none other, because none other could accomplish it. He was one among us, like us in every way except sin. Because He was God, He could manage the mission. Because He was man, His mission counted for our sake.
Jesus gave Himself to suffering, not for His own glory, but for our salvation. Smitten for the sins of His people, for our sins, He took up His cross, a cross which bore so heavily on Him that it caused His fall. Condemned falsely, this innocent man went to His death carrying the sins of the world, a burden so heavy that it caused His fall. But the fall was only a pause, and not the end of His mission. Rising again, He carried on, knowing that He walked to His death. Offering Himself for the sins of humanity, He accomplished the will of the Lord to reconcile all things to Himself and to the Father. Surrendering Himself to death, He took away the sins of humanity and won our pardon. We were destined to perdition, but Jesus took upon Himself the weight of our sins, and they died with Him on the cross.
To fall is not to fail. It is only a reminder that life is not a walk in the park. Rather, it is as often as not a way of the cross. This cross we carry, like the cross Jesus carried, can be the instrument of our suffering and death, but also the instrument of redemption. Uniting our sufferings with those of Jesus, we make of our own life an offering for others. When we fall, we accept the pause in our mission, but also accept that it’s only a pause, and that accomplishing the will of the Lord for our lives means getting up and carrying on.
Father, even Jesus fell under the weight of His cross. When we fall, give us the grace to get back up, to take up again the cross and carry it to our death, knowing that our death is not the end, but only the beginning. The fulfillment of Your promise is secure. Death is for life. Amen.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.