STATIONS OF THE CROSS
(“Were YOU There?”)
Were YOU there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree? Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
One betrayed Him; all, especially one, denied Him; thieves, a crowd, soldiers, chief priests and elders reviled and mocked Him; Pontius Pilate sentenced Him; and people who loved Him looked on helplessly. The same sins and sin-nature that motivated many who were there reside in each of us. By SIN – yes, you were there! It would be right to tremble in repentance and fear of the judgment which we see was wrathfully poured out on Jesus!
But by FAITH you are also there if you’re a Christian believer. By faith you are always there! YOU were tried, crucified, died, justified! It shouldn’t be surprising that sometimes we might feel like trembling with wonder, and exclaim with the Centurion, “Surely, this WAS the Son of God!”
You were there in SIN. You are there by FAITH. And we’re going there shortly with SCRIPTURE!
To help people envision actually being there, the Roman Catholic Church traditionally observes 14 “Stations of the Cross” on Good Friday. In Jerusalem the Via Dolorosa, the path of Sorrows, is followed by many from the Roman Court to the hill thought to be Golgotha. In other places throughout the world stations are built along outside paths or right within church buildings. Scripture is read, or tradition explained, and followers are known to pray at each station.
Some of the stations are built only on tradition, though, and can’t be verified from Holy Scripture. (Tradition includes Jesus falling 3 times, and meeting up with a woman named Veronica and twice with His mother, Mary.) The 8 Stations presented here are authentically from the most common 14, but are those which we do know directly from Scripture. The sections to be read will often put together several of the 4 Gospel accounts, to give the entire scene with all its parts. (The organist may introduce each Hymn tune before the singing and continue playing softly for “Silent Prayer” times.)
Let’s begin with the “Sentencing to the Cross.”
SENTENCING TO THE CROSS (Mt. 27:15,20,22-25/Mk. 15:15)
At the feast the Governor was accustomed to release for the multitude any one prisoner whom they wanted. Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the people to ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let Him be crucified!” And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let Him be crucified!” So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
(TLH Hymn #143, stanzas 1 & 3, and one minute for Silent Prayer…)
CARRYING THE CROSS: THE VIA DOLOROSA BEGUN (Mk. 15:16-20/Jn. 19:17)
The soldiers led Him away inside the palace; that is, the Praetorium; and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed Him in a purple cloak, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on Him. And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck His head with a staff, and spat upon Him, and they knelt down in homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the purple cloak, and put His own clothes on Him. And they took Jesus, and He went out, bearing His own Cross, to the place called “the Place of the Skull,” which is called in Hebrew, “Golgotha.”
(TLH Hymn #142, stanza 1, and Silent Prayer…)
SIMON OF CYRENE BEARS THE CROSS (Mt. 27:32a/Mk. 15:21/Lk. 23:26b)
As they were marching out, they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry His Cross behind (Him).
(TLH Hymn #423, stanza 1, and Silent Prayer…)
CHRIST’S WORDS TO THE WOMEN (Lk. 23:27-31)
There followed Him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented Him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the women that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
(TLH Hymn #166, stanza 1, and Silent Prayer…)
THE CRUCIFIXION (Lk. 23:33-34/Jn. 19:19)
When they came to the place which is called “The Skull,” there they crucified Him; and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the Cross; It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
(TLH Hymn #179 and Silent Prayer…)
DIVIDING OF THE GARMENTS (Jn. 19:23-25a/Mt. 27:36/Jn. 19:25b)
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took His garments and made four parts, one for each soldier. But His tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture, “They parted My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did this. Then they sat down and kept watch over Him there. Standing by the Cross of Jesus was His mother.
(TLH Hymn #153, stanzas 1 & 2, and Silent Prayer…)
CHRIST’S DEATH (Mt. 27:46/Jn. 19:28/Mt. 27:48-49/Jn. 19:30a/Lk. 23:46/Jn. 19:30b)
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”; that is, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said to fulfill the Scripture, “I thirst.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to Him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, “It is finished!” Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My Spirit.” And having said this, He breathed His last. And He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit.
(SPECIAL COMMENTS on the 7 Words from the Cross:
“Father, forgive them…”
– Such love while being murdered…! Jesus was essentially saying, “Blame ME for their hatred and sin…”
“Woman, behold your son…”
– Shows His honoring the 4th Commandment… Likewise shows His deep, personal care for Mary (and for us) while suffering so terribly Himself…
“Today you will be with Me…”
– Shows His power and will to grant Paradise…
– The darkest moment, Hell! He got what we deserve because of sin… Think of some of the worldly evils God permits and know that hell, His absence, is infinitely worse!
– He had refused vinegar with gall offered before, to ensure suffering to the fullest extent. This second time Jesus was at the height of all His agony; physically dehydrated and Soul-forsaken – the worst depths of hell!
“It is finished!”
– Sin’s payment and the atoning work for which He came was complete!
“..into Thy hands…”
– Shows His perfect trust as He had given all along, and an example for us…)
(TLH Hymn #174, stanzas 1 & 2, and Silent Prayer…)
OUR LORD’S BURIAL (Mk. 15:42-47/Lk. 23:56)
When evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the Kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And Pilate wondered if He was already dead; and summoning the Centurion, he asked him whether He was already dead. And when he learned from the Centurion that He was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. And he bought a linen shroud, and taking Him down, wrapped Him in the linen shroud, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where He was laid. They returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the Commandment.
(SPECIAL COMMENTS on the Fulfillment of Prophecies. For example:
Passover imagery, betrayal, 30 pieces of silver, the scattering of the disciples, the arrest, His silence at trial, being scourged, being “pierced,” the casting of lots, His thirst, having no bones broken, the burial in a rich man’s tomb… - All such fulfillments in perfect detail show us that what took place was not humanly rigged, but truly DIVINE fulfillment!)
(SPECIAL COMMENTS on the Descent into Hell and Resurrection that would follow:
Christ “descended” to proclaim His victory over Satan, and not to suffer any more. His resurrection was a “MUST” as He had claimed, because He destroyed Satan and sin (which brings death)! It was also prophesied that God’s “Holy One” would not see decay.)
(TLH Hymn #170, stanzas 1 & 2, and Silent Prayer…)
Choir / Offering / & Close of Service hymns, prayers and benediction follow in whatever manner may be selected…