The Via Dolorosa—and the True Way of Suffering

Looking Beyond Tradition to the Historical Path Jesus Walked

It happens most times I’m in Jerusalem. I hear the question. “You’re telling me this isn’t the true Via Dolorosa, the “Way of Suffering” Jesus walked with His cross from Pilate’s Praetorium to Calvary? Then where is it?” 

The Via Dolorosa—and the True Way of Suffering Jesus Walked

(Photo: The Ecce Homo arch spans the Via Dolorosa. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Via Dolorosa of today marks an exercise in faith more than fact, and its stops or “stations” reflect Catholic tradition more than history. Popularized by Sandi Patti’s hit song in 1991, the Via Dolorosa also attracts the veneration of Protestant pilgrims who journey to Jerusalem.

There’s just one problem. The true path to the cross was in a completely different place.

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Listening to Well-Timed Words of Warning

One other person struggled the night Jesus prayed in Gethsemane.

Dark shadows had fallen over Jerusalem. A lone figure knelt, weeping, agonizing in prayer, as eleven men slumbered nearby. While Jerusalem slept, the Lord Jesus endured anguish in the darkness of Gethsemane. But He did not suffer alone that night.

Listening to Well-Timed Warnings

(Photo: The Citadel served as the residence of Pilate and his wife. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.)

On the other side of Jerusalem in the luxuriant palace of the governor—perhaps even during the hours of Jesus’s agony in the garden—another figure writhed in agony.

The content of her nightmare was about Jesus. It caused her to arrive at a firm conclusion.

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5 More Christian Sites in Jerusalem You Should Know About

For most Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, Jerusalem is the climax of their journey. After all, the redemption of the universe occurred there. History knows no more significant city.

5 More Christian Sites in Jerusalem You Should Know About

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher)

In my previous post, I shared 5 Christian sites in Jerusalem you should know about—including the Mount of Olives, the Pools of Bethesda, and the Pool of Siloam.

With very few exceptions, we can’t stand on a square foot of ground and claim, “Jesus walked here.” But we can point to areas where biblical history aligns with the geography of Jesus.

Let’s add 5 more Christian sites to the previous list. These are sites in Jerusalem associated with Jesus’ death and resurrection.

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