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Stations of the Cross - Traditional Stations of the Cross


Jesus Condemned by Pilate

#1 Jesus is Condemned to Death


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).


When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” He (Pilate) had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified (Matthew 27:11-26).


Jesus stands alone, falsely accused by the very ones with whom he walked, who witnessed his miracles, and heard his teachings. These individuals now cry out and demand his death, death on a cross – Jesus is not recognized, not accepted, not understood (John 1:10, 11) but despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3) by the very ones to whom he came. Yet, Jesus continues to say yes to God, trusting God (1 Peter 4:19).


Ponder what it might have been like for Jesus to stand alone, falsely accused and condemned to a horrific and humiliating death on a cross, while also knowing that at any time, he had the power to stop this craziness.


After you are done pondering, spend some time thanking Jesus for his willingness to suffer, recalling to mind that “by His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 1:24).


Closing:


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and you have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus Carries the Cross

#2 Jesus Carries the Cross


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17).

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (Isaiah 53:5)


Jesus said to all: “Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps" (Luke 9:23).


They stripped him and put a purple robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they led him away to crucify him (Matthew 27:27-31). Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha) (John 19:17).

Jesus receives his cross, living out the words he spoke to those who desire to be his disciples, and heads off to his death. Put yourself into the story. Jesus has been beaten and now, the heavy crossbeam of a cross is placed upon his bleeding shoulders and he is pushed and prodded toward the place he will be crucified. He shuffles more than walks and continues forward. What do you want to say to Jesus? Spend some time talking with Jesus about his journey to the cross.


Closing:


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus Falls for the First Time

# 3 Jesus Stumbles


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).


Jesus—fully man, God incarnate, tempted in all ways like us, one who experienced hunger, thirst, and weariness, just like us—after being beaten, collapses under the weight of the cross, under the weight of what his ‘yes’ to God means for him. Jesus is one of us, human, beaten down, even stumbling; and yet, he continues, spurred on by love of God, trust in God and a deep love of for you and me. The weight of the cross and that which is soon to come weakens his body and may even trouble his mind and spirit, but his resolve is unaffected. Jesus continues to the place of the skull, to Golgotha.


Spend some time considering Jesus in his humanity, one who could feel just like you the emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual pain that life brings. See him stumble, the weight of cross forcing him to the ground, the dust kicking up. Hear the taunts of the crowd, the angry voices of the guards, to get up and keep going.

What do you want to say to Jesus? What are the feelings that arise within you as you consider Jesus and what he is going through? Share your feelings and thoughts with Jesus.


Closing:


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus Meets His Mother

#4 Jesus meets mother


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


Simeon said to Mary, his mother, "This child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed. And you yourself shall be pierced with a sword, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be laid bare." (Luke 2:34-35)


Mary sees her son; and the words spoken to her 33 years earlier ring in her ears as she feels the piercing pain and anguish of seeing her baby—her Jesus—beaten, mocked and journeying to his death. Jesus looks into the eyes of his mother. Pain, sorrow and love greet one another in a tender glance—no words are spoken, but for an instant the crowds, the soldiers and the religious leaders fade away and love carries the moment.


Put yourself in the place of both Mary and Jesus. What are you feeling? What are you experiencing as you exchange glances? What feelings stir within you concerning Jesus? What do you want to say to Jesus? Share your feelings and thoughts with Jesus.


Closing:


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Simon Helps Carry the Cross

#5 Simon of Cyrene is Forced to Carry Jesus’ Cross


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. (Matthew 27:32)

A person from the crowd is ordered by the guards to carry the cross of Jesus. This is no act of kindness by the guards but one of necessity. Jesus is becoming weaker and slowing down with each step. The pace needs to be quickened and Jesus needs to make it to the crucifixion alive. So, Simon is forced into cross-carrying duty and becomes a forced accomplice in the crucifixion of Jesus. Has he been mocking Jesus or is he possibly sympathetic to the plight of Jesus – we do not know. The cross is taken from the shoulders of Jesus and placed upon the shoulders of Simon; and the death march continues. Jesus accepts the help of another and the two plod onward.

Imagine you are Simon. What do you want to say to Jesus? What do you see in Jesus’ eyes as the cross to taken from him and given to you? What are you feeling/thinking as the cross is placed on your shoulders, as you become a part this drama of death?

As you reflect on all this, how does it make you feel about, or toward Jesus? If you could be transported back in time to this event, what would you want to say to Jesus knowing what you know now? What does Jesus want to say to you? Spend some time speaking with and listening to Jesus.

Closing


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Veronica Wipes Jesus‘ Face

#6 Veronica Wipes Jesus’ Face with a Cloth


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:37-40)

According to Christian tradition, a woman came out of the crowd and wiped Jesus’ face with a cloth. When she had finished wiping Jesus’ face, the cloth had an image of Jesus’ face on it. Much like Jesus who was often moved by compassion, Veronica seeks to show care in deed and in truth to Jesus in a hostile environment. She can't do much, but she offers what she can.

There are some who believe that Veronica is the woman who was healed of the issue of blood by touching the edge of Jesus’ cloak. The name ‘Veronica’ is Greek for ‘true image.’ So many people think Veronica was not her real name but possibly became a nickname given to her after this event.

Considering he was surrounded by people mocking him, spitting on him, and keeping their distance lest they get in trouble with the authorities, what do you think this simple act meant to Jesus as he struggled on his journey to his crucifixion? If you were Veronica: What would you be feeling as you made your way to Jesus? What would you want to say to Jesus? What is propelling you forward, causing you toward this simple act of care and kindness? When you see the image of Jesus on your cloth, what does this means to you?

Closing


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus Falls the Second Time

# 7 Jesus Stumbles the Second Time


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)


Once again, we are invited to acknowledge and affirm the reality of Jesus’ humanity. Jesus was not a super hero, impervious to the frailties of being human. He was a human being who wept, bled, and felt pain and anguish.


How does acknowledging Jesus’ humanity and the associated frailties of being human make you feel toward Jesus? How does this awareness color what he has done and endured on your behalf? Spend some time talking with Jesus about the realities of being human. Spend some time thanking Jesus for his willingness to come in the flesh, to live as you live and to choose to die in your place that you might truly live. Jesus was one of us and walked among us.


Closing


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

#8 Jesus Speaks with the Women of Jerusalem


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:27-28)


The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)


Jesus—once again as so many times before—moved by compassion, speaks to those who are weeping for him. Jesus, as always, speaks with grace and communicates truth; for Jesus is the truth as well as the way and the life. At a time when many would be overwhelmed by their own situation and bemoaning their own dire circumstances, Jesus is concerned about the plight of others.


As you have journeyed thus far with Jesus to the cross, what feelings are arising within you toward Jesus? What might Jesus have to say to you as he passes? Spend some time listening for Jesus’ words to you. Thank Jesus for being one who is able to be with you in the stuff of your own life – one who will share with you the twin gifts of grace and truth.


Closing


Almighty God, your Son had the presence of mind to think of the suffering of others even as He Himself suffered. Help me to live with greater concern for others than for myself; through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen.


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus Falls a Third Time

#9 Jesus falls a third time


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said… (Matthew 4:1-3)


He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. (Matthew 26:42-44)


This is the third time Jesus has fallen. A third occasion recalls to mind the three temptations that confronted Jesus at the beginning his ministry and the three times he asks that “if possible (God would) take this cup (speaking of his death) from me but not my will but your will be done.” Might it be that each of these stumbles is yet another temptation thrown at Jesus? An invitation to give up and give in to the pain? To assert his own will, not God’s will be done? A temptation that offers him the opportunity to escape the three nails that will affix him to the cross? Ponder this possibility – what continued to give Jesus the ability and resolve even in this weakened state, to say, ‘not my will but Your will be done’? Spend some time being with Jesus, listening, speaking, being.


Closing


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

#10 The Soldiers Strip Jesus for Crucifixion


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.

And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:34)

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:3)

Jesus has his clothing removed, the final affront. Jesus is now naked for all to see. The beating, mocking, even the crucifixion is not enough. Jesus is stripped of human dignity, humiliated in front of a crowd of morbidly curious onlookers who continue to mock him and call for his crucifixion. Jesus knows the cruel realities of life and is found faithful through out it all.

Spend some time pondering what it meant for Jesus, God incarnate, to be inflicted by the very hands he created, humiliated by those he came to gather to himself, in a world he both created and sustains all because of a forgiving and redeeming love that would not be denied.

Closing


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

#11 The Soldiers Crucify Jesus


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Mark 15:25-32)

(Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:14-15, 18)

Jesus extends his hand and a man takes a long heavy nail and feeling for the space just above the wrist, he feels for the place to drive the nail. Once finding the spot, he raises the hammer high and sends it crashing down on the head of the nail driving it through Jesus flesh and into the wooden cross beam below. He will repeat this with the other hand and then the feet. All the while Jesus is mocked, his identify denied, his power still masked. He is there by choice; he is enduring this agony for something far more precious to him than comfort, notoriety, earthly power or riches. There is a joy for which Jesus reaches that exceeds all he is currently enduring.


Spend sometime pondering the joy that fuels Jesus’ desire and ability to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2). What is this joy? Spend some time considering what you would say to Jesus as he is nailed to the cross. What does Jesus say to you and how are you a part of the very joy Jesus is seeking?


Closing


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus Dies

#12 Jesus Dies


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. (John 19:30-34)


Surely he took up our pain, and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)


(Jesus), being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)


Closing


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross

#13 Joseph of Arimithea Takes Jesus Down From the Cross


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.


This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid. (Mark 15:42-47)


Jesus’ life comes to an end. The crowds disperse and the religious leaders celebrate a victory won. A man name Joseph comes forward and asks for the body of Jesus. His request is granted; and as a final act of love and faith, Joseph takes down the body and so it can be prepared for burial.


Imagine you are there, a follower of Jesus, who has watched from afar all day. You still stand at a distance as Joseph and others labor to remove the lifeless body of Jesus from the cross. They turn to you and ask for your help – what do you do? If you do help, what feelings stir with in you as you see the beaten body of Jesus, as you notice the wounds in his hands, feet and side? What words are birthed within you as you gaze upon the body of Jesus – a life that has come to an end too soon? If you decide not to help, why not? Either way, share you thoughts and feeling with Jesus.


Closing


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ Crucified. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.




Jesus Laid in the Tomb

#14 Joseph of Arimithea and Nicodemus Lay Jesus in the Tomb


Opening Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ,
take me along that holy way
you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory,
above all, my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did
for love of me and all the world.

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-42)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Your journey through the station of the cross is coming to an end. Spend some time pondering your journey. What have been the results of your journey in regards to your image of Jesus, your appreciation for who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for you? What are the invitations and challenges, in terms of how you are to live your life, that are implicitly contained in these stations? Spend some time exploring this with Jesus.


Closing


I adore You, O Christ, and bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world and You have redeemed me.


Jesus Christ the crucified one. Have mercy on me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


FINAL CLOSING PRAYER


Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries
follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.



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