By Andrew Bobo

Hello and welcome to the 2024 Easter Devotional Series from the staff of First Baptist Dallas!  

Before we officially get started, I have a personal confession to make . . . I’ve never been to Israel. I’ve heard the biblical stories since I was a kid. I’ve looked at maps, seen pictures, and read articles. I’ve even learned (and quickly forgotten) a little Hebrew. But I’ve never gone to Israel to experience it for myself. I have heard from those who have gone that it’s incredible, and one of the sites I’d most like to visit is the Via Dolorosa in the Old City in Jerusalem. Via Dolorosa means “way of suffering” or “sorrowful way.” This is the path Jesus walked to the cross.  

The Via Dolorosa has 14 stations. Some stations mark the likely sites of events mentioned in Scripture, while others mark events attested to by later sources in the tradition, outside the Bible. The intent of the Via Dolorosa is to spend time contemplating the meaning and significance of what Jesus did in the very place where He did it.  

Perhaps you’re like me, and you haven’t gotten to walk the Via Dolorosa before. In preparation for Easter, we’re going to get the next best thing. Over the next 10 days, we’re going to get to hear from First Dallas staff members who have walked the Via Dolorosa themselves. They’ll help us reflect on what God’s Word says about the suffering and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ and what it means for us. I think we’ll be reminded that the way of suffering and sorrows, as painful and as gruesome as it was, turns out also to be the way of love. As Jesus told the disciples just before He started on the way, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  

It’s important that Christianity has places. Real places where things happened. It reminds us that what we read about in the Gospels isn’t a fable. What we celebrate at Easter isn’t a myth or a legend. The Gospels contain real, historical accounts of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection from those who were there. Those who saw. Those who witnessed (Luke 1:2–3; John 20:31).  

Our faith doesn’t start with a set of abstract ideas or principles. Jesus isn’t just a concept. He’s a real person. He has real feet. He carried a real cross. He bled real blood. He died a real death. This is the mystery and wonder of the Incarnation, when the Son of God took on human flesh for us (John 1:14). Retracing His steps reminds us that Jesus’ steps were real steps. He became one of us, fully and completely one of us, so that He could save us and redeem us.  

So, if you’re like me and you haven’t been to Israel yet, I think it’s going to be a great spiritual encouragement to get to hear from our friends who have. They can help us think about what Christ did for us on that dark spring Friday. And if you have been to Israel, I hope this devotional series will remind you of what you experienced and what it all means. We celebrate Easter year after year because of how easily we forget and how much there is to know. We can never reach the end of who Jesus is or fully grasp all the implications of what He has accomplished. But let’s spend some time going deeper into the great mystery together—those three days that changed everything.  

The way of suffering led to Christ’s death. But praise God, the story doesn’t end there. Through His death and resurrection, we have the hope of eternal life in Him! 

Author Bio

Andrew Bobo

Associate Executive Pastor, Practical Theology

Andrew became a member at First Baptist Dallas in 2012 and has been on staff full-time since 2020. He serves as a teacher of the Credo Sunday School class. Andrew has received a Master of Theology in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Master of Public Service Administration from the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in political philosophy in the Institute of Philosophic Studies program at the University of Dallas. Andrew and his wife Ana have four children.