December 13, 2017

The Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes The Face Of Jesus

Scripture

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the LORD,” they say,
“let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

(Psalm 22: 6-8, NIV. Also see 2 Samuel 16.)

Meditation

It is much safer to be a part of a mob than to stand on your own. Mobs move collectively in anger or confusion or violence. But it is a group effort—no one person is made to be in the spotlight. The crowd that is following Jesus as he staggers up the hill toward Golgotha jeers him as one. They are united in their vitriol. With one voice they hurl insults at the innocent Lamb of God.

David suffered insults from a mob of one as he fled Jerusalem. Shimei cursed the king with vile contempt. Yet David, foreshadowing the response of the Eternal King, refused to retaliate. He accepted the harsh words as his due.

Jesus is not just carrying the cross to his death—he is also carrying our shame, our abuse, our insults. He is being verbally assaulted as he stumbles under the weight of wood and sin. Blood from the crown of thorns mixes with sweat and spit to blind him with stabbing pain to his eyes. And still the mob jeers him with words that stab his heart.

But then a woman steps out from the crowd. Veronica is her name. She has nothing to offer Jesus but a simple cloth–and her love. She bathes his face with her cloth, wiping away the salty blood and sweat. She gazes into his eyes. What does she see? Does she see the Lord of Love looking on her with mercy? With grace? With thanks?

Veronica dares to break with the crowd to be with Jesus. It is only a moment, for the soldiers are there to push her aside and keep the death procession moving. But it is a moment that will forever change Veronica’s life. She stood alone, and for her reward, she will carry a cloth that is forever imprinted with the blood of Jesus. And for just a moment, her courage brought her into a closeness with Jesus that the crowd could never know.

Action

Standing alone in faith is hard—very hard. It is so much easier to slip into the crowd, even if it is a crowd made up of those are trying to impress God with good works. The mob that was screaming abuse at Jesus most likely thought they were doing the right thing by the religious leaders. After all, those leaders are the ones who sent Jesus to his death. So to stand in faith means to stand up against the religious tide. Stand anyway.

Prayer

Jesus, would I have had the courage to step out of the mob and care for you like Veronica? Or would I have cowered in the crowd? I want to have the kind of faith that allows me to stand for you, even if I have to stand alone. Help my weak faith, Lord. Help me to fix my eyes on you, not on me, and thus walk with you, even if I have to go against the crowd.

Chorus

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world,

Comments

  1. Veronica dares to break with the crowd to be with Jesus.
    But it is a moment that will forever change Veronica’s life.
    And for just a moment, her courage brought her into a closeness with Jesus that the crowd could never know.
    So to stand in faith means to stand up against the religious tide. Stand anyway.

    I’ve often wondered who I would be all those years ago. Would I have the courage to follow Him when everything and everyone else was doing the opposite? Or would I have the tenacity to buck the system, as I usually love to do?

    But I’ve come to realize that I’ve been with the crowd that taunted and jeered Him. Just not in the procession, but thousands of years after, in my prodigal life, in my outright rebellion against Him and what I presumed He was all about. Until that moment that forever changed my life.

    Until He brings me to live with Him, I will always stand against the religious tide. But, I will stand anyway. With Jesus.

    Thank you imonk for these great, great, posts!

  2. David Cornwell says:

    “I’ve often wondered who I would be all those years ago. Would I have the courage to follow Him when everything and everyone else was doing the opposite? Or would I have the tenacity to buck the system, as I usually love to do?”

    I’ve wondered exactly the same thing Rebekah.

  3. I think this ‘item’ in itself is quite intriguing, like most biblical events, corroboration is difficult to ascertain so
    as an option we exercise a metaphorical approach.

    Bringing the event into a modern context… Would we stand out in front of a dictator such as Gadaffi and air our thoughts, knowing full well the consequences could be dire, perhaps not… but some people choose do to exactly this.

    Some human endeavours in their own context are worthy of being recorded in the annals of time..

    Perhaps, Why I have written the work of The Silent Apostle.

    A.D.Doyle Scotland

  4. Christiane says:

    VERA ICON: ‘true image’

    The tradition about the lady who wiped the Face of Our Lord, and received His Image on her cloth goes back to the beginning. But we do not really know her name. So she was give a name: ‘ Veronica’, meaning ‘true image’.

  5. Faith to stand alone against the crowd.

    I think Rob Bell and Veronica share a lot in common =)

  6. i’m just so surprised you are not using the Biblical Stations of the Cross but are using these…any reason why you chose these and not the biblical fourteen?

  7. Creeping Romanism?

    🙂

    If you would prefer a more Biblically-based meditation, there is the 2009 Way of the Cross from the Vatican website which has the ‘new’ stations:

    http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/2009/documents/ns_lit_doc_20090410_via-crucis_en.html

    FIRST STATION
    Jesus in agony in the Garden of Olives
    SECOND STATION
    Jesus is betrayed by Judas, and restrains Peter from violence
    THIRD STATION
    Jesus is held guilty by the Sanhedrin
    FOURTH STATION
    Jesus is denied by Peter
    FIFTH STATION
    Jesus is judged by Pilate
    SIXTH STATION
    Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
    SEVENTH STATION
    After Jesus is made an object of fun,
    he is led out to be crucified
    EIGHTH STATION
    Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene to carry the Cross
    NINTH STATION
    Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
    TENTH STATION
    Jesus is crucified
    ELEVENTH STATION
    Jesus promises his Kingdom to the Good Thief
    TWELFTH STATION
    The Mother of Jesus and the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the Cross
    THIRTEENTH STATION
    Jesus dies on the Cross
    FOURTEENTH STATION
    Jesus is taken down from the Cross and placed in the tomb

  8. What are you talking about?

  9. I think I prefer the new 2009 Way of the Cross, Martha. I like it being more Biblically-based.

  10. Martha, I was reading the 2009 Way of the Cross at the Vatican URL you gave us. I notice each meditation ended with the Our Father in Latin. Maybe I will learn this, just because:

    Pater noster, qui es in cælis:
    sanctificetur nomen tuum;
    adveniat regnum tuum;
    fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.
    Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
    et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
    sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
    et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
    sed libera nos a malo.

  11. I’m one of the grumbling pew-potatoes who goes “All these new-fangled changes, what’s the point, if it was good enough for my granny, oh okay the Pope wants it, all the same…”

    😉

  12. Here’s a quick summary: The Scriptural Way of the Cross or Scriptural Stations of the Cross is a version of the traditional Stations of the Cross inaugurated as a Roman Catholic devotion by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. Thereafter John Paul II performed the scriptural version many times at the Colosseum in Rome on Good Fridays during his reign. The scriptural version was not intended to invalidate the traditional version, rather it was meant to add nuance to an understanding of the Passion.
    They are an alternative to the traditional stations which assist with reflecting on the scriptural accounts of the Passion of Christ and which Protestants may be more comfortable observing because they are attested in scripture. (Out of the fourteen traditional Stations of the Cross, only eight have scriptural foundation – Stations 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 being unattested in any of the gospels.)