He Is Risen!

 

Good Friday

For many followers of Jesus, the Stations of the Cross are a powerful form of worship. The traditional stations represent fourteen discreet places along the path (the Via Dolorosa, or “way of suffering”) that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. Around the world, churches set up images of Christ depicted at these points – traditionally, from his being condemned to death to his being placed in the tomb – that allow people to pause to pray and to contemplate what Jesus did for the world.

In Old Jerusalem, the Stations are marked along the Via Dolorosa with metal markers on the walls of various buildings (first picture, above). As you walk the path, you might find large wooden crosses, which people pick up and carry on their pilgrimage (picture two). If you’re hard core, you can grab and carry two (picture three)!

Resurrection Day

So, if you go to Jerusalem, you quickly learn that there are two possible locations for Jesus’ death and burial (and thus, his resurrection). The first is inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which has been the traditional site since the fourth century. It is grand, with much pageantry (pictures one and two), and, as you can see, has long lines just to touch the rock upon which Christ was crucified (Golgotha or Calvary, picture three), a slab upon which Christ was laid after his death (picture four), and the tomb (picture five).

This location is contrasted with what is called the Garden Tomb, which was unearthed in 1867. Unlike the Church, it is quite modest (picture six), accessible (picture seven), and, while not expressly claiming to be “the” tomb, has a tomb that certainly fits the biblical bill (picture eight).

There is pretty compelling evidence also to claim that the adjacent cliff to the Garden Tomb (picture nine) is Golgotha, the place of the crucifixion, including the fact that it was a traditional site for both Hebrew executions and Roman crucifixions due to being so visibly situated along the road to Damascus. But what I find interesting is the fact that if the crucifixion actually happened here – the Garden tomb, where there is currently no pageantry, no lines, and, indeed, is found at the base of a cliff today surrounded by parked busses and trash (picture ten) – then it would likely be fitting for a life that ultimately defied every expectation of a messiah.

I have my own theory, but ultimately the issue isn’t a dealbreaker.

Happy Resurrection Day, Everyone!

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