I walked a pathway where Jesus is thought to have walked, and it made me thankful for the path to life he gives.

The orange glow of street lights popped up across the Old City of Jerusalem in the failing evening light. In the stillness of the twilight, I walked down an ancient stone stairway.

The slabs of limestone, dating back from before New Testament times, made a distinct path down the hill.

The feet of many different people over the centuries had walked this ancient staircase. Perhaps Jesus’ sandaled feet walked these steps. I put my Nike soled feet on the path where I hoped he had walked, wanting to follow in his footsteps but not to where they would lead.

Jesus made some of his final steps in this neighborhood of Jerusalem. As I stood on the rocky land and dusty brown dirt, I contemplated that fateful evening after Jesus’ arrest.

Soldiers brought Jesus, after they had seized him in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the house belonging to Annas, the former high priest. Just beyond the limestone steps, white rectangular boulders defined the outline of a building believed to be the site of Annas’ house.

The soldiers dragged a bound Jesus up the stairway and into the home. John went into the house with Jesus and witnessed the interrogation. On the other side of the path, large misshapen blocks, worn down by the weather, marked the remains of Caiaphas’ palace. Caiaphas was the son-in-law to Annas and the high priest during Jesus’ trial. Annas sent Jesus there.

Somewhere in the vicinity, Peter warmed himself by a burning fire. With the setting sun, coldness crept over all who were with Peter. The other disciples, it seemed, had scattered. The disciples’ footsteps only followed Jesus part of the way on his journey to the cross.

At least John and Peter remained with Jesus. Yet, fear consumed Peter. Perhaps he thought he would be arrested, too.

On the hillside on which I stood, Peter vehemently denied he knew his Lord. The rooster’s crow reminded Peter of what Jesus had told him only a few hours earlier: “Today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”

How heartbreaking for Jesus that his friend would have nothing to do with him when Jesus needed him most.

Yet, it was Peter’s heart that broke. Peter wept bitterly.

How often do we abandon Jesus out of fear, whether fear of being ridiculed for our faith or for other reasons? Jesus, however, only continued to be faithful to Peter and all his disciples, as he is to us.

Jesus’ walked the path to death so we don’t have to die. We can follow Jesus’ footsteps, but they lead us to life, a full and everlasting life.

The limestone steps signify part of his journey to death that gives us life. 

Let’s thank God for the life we have when we follow Jesus.


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