The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920
"Shall I remain? ought I to go away? Shall I have strength to support such a sight ?"
"If you do not remain to see him pass, you will be sorry afterwards."
They remained by the door with their eyes fixed on the procession coming down the street. When the men with the nails, cords and other instruments, were passing by with insolent and triumphant looks, she could not control her feelings, but burst out in lamentations. When they heard and saw her, one of them asked: "What woman is that, who is uttering such lamentations ? " and another replied, " That is the Mother of the Galilean." Then they began to mock and laugh at her; and one of them took one of the nails out of the basket with which they were to nail her Son to the cross, and presented it to her in an insulting manner. But she turned away and fixed her eyes on Jesus who was now approaching the house. She leaned against the pillar of the door, for she felt like fainting.
Then Pharisees on asses passed by, followed by the boy who carried the inscription to be nailed to the cross. Then came the Roman guards, the archers, and in the midst of the guards Jesus carrying his cross. His head, crowned with thorns, was drooping in agony on his left shoulder for he could not hold it up without the cross driving the thorns deeper into his flesh. As soon as he saw his Mother standing there in the door, a look of love and sorrow came over his face, and he staggered and fell to his knees.
Mary saw nothing but her Son. All the sentiments of her motherhood, all the love of that purest soul among the daughters of Eve welled up in her. She sprung from the doorway into the street, pushed her way through the soldiers and the guards, she threw herself on her knees beside her Jesus, while from her lips broke the words of agony; " Beloved Son," and Jesus only replied: " Mother."
Confusion reigned. John and the other followers of Jesus ran up and tried to raise Mary from the ground; the guards, who had stopped, attempted to push her away, while one of them said : " What do you do here, woman? If he had been better brought up, he would not be here in our hands." Some of the soldiers looked touched at the sight, but they were under military discipline, and and they forced her to retire to the doorway, where she fell on the steps. John and the friends of Jesus surrounded her, and they carried her into the house.
In the meantime the guards and soldiers raised Jesus from the ground, adjusted the cross on his shoulder and the procession began again, while the mob renewed their cries and insults. Then was fulfilled what the Lord said by his prophet. " Rejoice not thou, my enemy, over me because I am fallen." (Micheas vii. 8.) The procession began again its march.
They went along the street south till they came to an other turn, where the street leading to the right passed through the Cheesemonger's Street leading west through the gate and outside the walls.
At this place a steep hill began. Christ could not carry his cross up the hill. The hill they had to climb was much steeper then than now. For we must remember that Romans, Mohammedans, Crusaders and others have many a time captured Jerusalem and leveled her walls and buildings. In the valley between the steep hills on which the Holy City stands, we must look at the bottom of the debris, forty to sixty feet deep, for the streets over which Christ walked. With deathless faith and holiest aspirations all Oriental Christians venerate the places where trod the Saviour's feet. But above all his tomb, the place where stood his cross, and the street leading from Pilate's palace, now called the Via Dolorosa have been ever held most sacred, nor could they be ever called in doubt by any one who makes a deep study of them.
Many people were passing along this street, on their way from the country towns to the Temple to take part in 'the preparations for the great Sabbath within the Passover. Some of them stopped and said: " Look at that poor man. He is surely dying." But the Jews showed no compassion for the Victim. The procession had stopped because Jesus could not drag his cross up the hill, and some of the Pharisees said to the soldiers : " We will never get him to the place of execution alive, unless we find someone to carry his cross."
At that moment Simon, a Hellenistic Jew from Cyrene, with his two sons, (Mark xv. 21.) Alexander and (Acts ii. 10; vi. 6. Matt, xxvii. 32 ; Mark xv. 21 ; Luke xxiii. 26.) Rufus, were passing down the street carrying on their backs their offering for the Temple. Simon was dressed in the garment of his native country, Cyrene, in the north of Africa, now a part of Tunis, but then the Roman province of Libya, where flourished a rich Roman colony. Ptolemeus Lagi (BC. 323--285) had carried away 100,000 Jews from Palestine, and settled them in the north of Africa. They had flourished. They used to come up to Jerusalem for the Easter services of the Passover, and at the time of Christ a special synagogue had been built for them in the Holy City, in which they worshiped when they came to the feasts.
The soldiers seized Simon and ordered him to carry the cross. Simon refused. He gave vent to his vexation at being compelled to aid a man all covered with blood and dirt on his way to execution. His young sons began to cry; but some of the women quieted them. The soldiers forced him to obey. The guards put the cross on his shoulders, and he walked along behind Christ carrying the cross. Relieved from the weight of the cross the Redeemer was now able to walk up the hill.
Later both Simon and his two sons were converted. Of Rufus St. Paul wrote: " Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine." (Romans xvi, 13.)