Jesus fell. This event is not recorded in the gospels, but in Christian legend and memory. Is it hard to imagine? No. Jesus of Nazareth, at this point, would have been seriously injured and extremely weak from the beatings, scourgings, and subsequent loss of blood. Jesus would have found it very, very difficult to just walk to the place of his crucifixion, let alone carry his own cross.
He falls, once, twice, three times. The continued snap of a Roman whip pushes him forward.
Still, Jesus refuses to compromise the social, political, and religious ethics he pointed toward during his ministry. In fact, now, perhaps more than ever before, he is convinced of the incredible spiritual value of a realm wherein neighbor treats neighbor as they themselves would want to be treated. The motley and chaotic horde hurling small rocks, bitting insults, and cold spit at him remind him of a more peaceful and loving community characterized by authentic love and care for one another. His face smashing into the cobble stone path beneath him, bruised by the unsupportable weight of what’s left of his body, is the ironic catalyst of fonder memories of warm and gentle touches of a friend’s hand upon his cheek. Heaven exists somewhere, but it’s not here. It’s morning on the other side of the globe. The Kingdom of God is breaking over a mountain in glory … somewhere. Jesus keeps moving forward, unwilling to bend his kingdom right or left.
Artwork Used By Permission & Credit: Gwyneth Leech