“Finally, Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.) John 19:16-17
The fruit of the mystery is perseverance and patience.
He was still standing after a brutal flogging that should have left him dead. His flesh is already mutilated and profusely bleeding, and His body is weak and shaky from the blood loss. Yet somehow, He withstands the pain and keeps going. I wonder if maybe the soldiers, besides being irked, weren’t just a little impressed that He was still alive after all they’d done to Him.
Maybe that’s why they enlisted some help for Him and made Simon carry the cross the rest of the way to Golgotha. “A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country and they forced him to carry the cross.” Mark 15:21
But whether Jesus could walk or not, they were determined in their cause. Nothing was going to stop them from their final goal of execution.
Jesus persevered. So did Satan.
Satan was fiercely determined in his cause that day and he was getting plenty of help from those blood-thirsty Roman soldiers. In this battle between Love and Evil, it was beginning to look like Satan would prevail.
Thus far he had succeeded in shredding Jesus’ body and utterly humiliating Him. Not a bad day’s work for a fallen angel.
(Ah, but things are not as they seem! Evil was about to be soundly, eternally defeated.)
I wonder if perhaps it was tempting for Jesus to just lie down on the dirt road and die right there. Completely sapped of strength and in agonizing pain, I wonder if He was tempted by the thought, “I can’t take another step.”
How many times have I had that thought? It seems to me that my cross is getting too heavy, or I have been carrying it for too long, and I can’t take another step. I feel weakened by some harsh blows, and it looks as though the enemy is winning.
In faithful obedience to the Father’s will, Jesus persevered. So must I. Though it seems the enemy is scoring too many points against me, I must remember he has already lost. Though I’m sapped of strength and in pain, if I remain faithful, Satan will not prevail.
“Keep walking,” Jesus says to me. “I will carry you when you are weak. I will never leave you. I have been to hell and back for you, and there’s nothing to fear.”