Introduction

The Stations of the Cross @ The Bridge Community is a self-guided prayer journey and is a modern take on an ancient tradition. 


For two millennia, Christians have wondered at the love of God which is remarkably evident to us on Good Friday, the day of Jesus's death and burial.  Followers of Christ have historically marked this day with a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to walk the 900 steps Jesus took from his "trial" to the place of his crucifixion and entombment.  While an in-person pilgrimage to Jerusalem may not be feasible, we hope this Stations of the Cross experience can provide a way for followers of Christ to “walk his steps,” remembering the last events of Jesus life, his death, and his burial (also known as “the passion narrative”).  


Though the practice of walking the Stations of the Cross is widespread in the Christian tradition, the number of stations and events to be memorialized has been fluid throughout history. In this year's “Stations of the Cross Experience” we’ll take you through a meditation of eight moments that lead to Jesus' death and burial.  We hope this immersion into this day in the life of Jesus will move you to understand the sacrifice our sins required, and to marvel at the beauty of the mercy and justice of God which he demonstrated on the cross.  Our hope is that as your appreciation for this event grows, your joy will also grow this Easter.

Instructions for the stations

This whole Stations of the Cross Experience may take about 45 minutes.  As you arrive at each station, you will notice an image.  That image will help you think about a specific moment in the passion narrative. Each station has a scripture reading and short prayer, and a reflection/application. All of the scripture readings are taken from the ESV, though we encourage you to use any version you’re comfortable with as you move through the stations. Take as long as you need at each station. Each station has two identical sides, so use whichever side is open.  If both sides of the station ahead of you are in use, please allow the group ahead of you to move on to the next station before you progress. Seats are available at each section if you need additional time for reflection.

Opening Prayer

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

  • Station #1- Jesus is condemned

    ReadingMatthew 27:11-14, 24

    Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.… 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.” 


    Prayer:

    Jesus, you could have easily escaped this moment. It was not Pilate or the religious leaders that held you there.  No one takes your life, you lay it down (John 10:18).  You stay, not to pay for your own crimes, but for my sins.  Help me to remember your sacrifice.  Amen.


    Reflection/Application:

    Jesus is accused, but does not defend himself. The crowd can ask for Jesus’ release.  Instead, they call for his crucifixion. Of course, it is not Pilate’s will,  or the will of the crowd that leads Jesus to the cross. It is God’s will that Jesus die in my place.  It is my sin that led him to condemnation.  Each act of sin in my life calls out for His sacrificial death. In a sense, my sins are the real cries for Jesus’ condemnation.  Give voice to sin’s condemning call by using the ballot to vote for Jesus’ condemnation. 


  • Station #2- Jesus is mocked

    Reading: Matthew 27:15-17, 21, 27-31

    Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”…The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”…Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.


    Prayer:

    Jesus, I’ve not always followed your will.  Forgive my mocking voice. Give me the grace I need to see your beauty and wonder so that I may turn away from the things of the world and follow you.


    Reflection/Application:

    The crowd values the life of Barabbas, a criminal, over Jesus.  Anything we value above Jesus is ultimately idolatry.  Look at the list in front of you.  Is there anything on that list that you are tempted to value above Jesus?  Move Jesus to the top of your list.

  • Station #3- Simon helps carry the cross

    Reading: Mark 15:21-22

    And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull).


    Prayer:

    Suffering Jesus, your torture and journey toward your execution is

    incredibly cruel. You are almost dead before you ever get to the cross. It takes another, just to get you to  Mount Calvary. Simon, coming in from the country, is pressed to carry your cross. Does he come to know you, Lord, walking by your side? By your meeting with the Cyrenean, may we find you in the stranger, and in the needy we meet. Help me to remember your suffering for me, Lord, and let me accompany you to Mount Calvary today. May I live and die in you. Amen.


    Reflection/Application: 

    An exhausted Jesus moves ever slowly toward the place of crucifixion, the soldiers became impatient. This is taking longer than they wanted it to.  They grab a man out of the crowd and make him help carry the cross for Jesus. He is just passing by, but all of a sudden he is drawn into the most important event in human history. Like Simon, we too are called to carry the cross, to lay down our life for those in need.  Take one of the small crosses.  This symbol reminds us that it is Jesus’ work, not my own, that allows me entry into God’s presence, and it reminds me of Jesus’ commandment to pick up my cross daily (Luke 9:23).   As you carry it, let it be a reminder of Christ’s sacrificial death for you and of your calling to serve others as Christ served you.

  • Station #4- Jesus speaks to the women

    Reading: Luke 23:27-31

    And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus 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 breasts 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 these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”


    Prayer:

    My Jesus, you comfort the women of Jerusalem who wept to see you bruised and torn. Comfort my soul as I wrestle with your suffering. Help me to be aware of the needs around me, as you were.  Help me respond to them even when I'm busy or preoccupied with my own problems.May I walk with you this day. Amen.


    Reflection:

    As Jesus proceeds toward the place of crucifixion, he sees a group of women along the road. Although he has been abandoned by His friends and is in pain, he stops to comfort them. His words seem strange to us.  He calls them to mourn, not for him, but for those who are separated from Him at his return.  Sometimes I become so absorbed in myself and what I need that I forget about the spiritual needs of others.  Take a small key chain and write the name of one or two people who are not walking with Jesus.  Commit to praying for them daily through Easter, and then as often as the keychain reminds you to pray.

  • Station #5- Jesus is nailed to the cross

    Reading: Mark 15:25-32

    And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.


    Prayer:

    O patient Jesus, Lamb of God who promised, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14).  Attract my heart to You. Let me crucify my past. I throw myself into the arms of Your mercy.


    Reflection/Application:

    Huge nails are hammered through Jesus’ hands and feet. Can there be any pain or agony he does not understand? This is for me. What sorrow and gratitude fill my heart!  The record of debt that stands against me is set aside, it is nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14).  It is my sin that holds him to the cross. Take a sheet of paper, write on it a sin that Jesus bears, nail it to the cross, recognizing that because Jesus takes our sin upon Himself, it has no power over us any more.

  • Station #6- Jesus dies

    Reading: Mark 15:33-38

    And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”


    Prayer:

    My Jesus, you hang in agony for hours before you dying; let me die to sin and live for your love, and faithful service.  I come into your presence, help me to abide with you. Amen.


    Reflection:

    Jesus dies a horrifying death, yet Hebrews 12:2 tells us that though he is in agony, he is also joyful.  He is joyful that his death brings healing and new life to all who trust Him.  God tears the veil of the temple.  The veil kept God’s presence in the temple separated from the average person.  Jesus’ death tears the veil. Jesus is forsaken so that we are accepted. He removes the barrier that keeps us from living in God’s presence.  He makes a way when there was no way.  Walk through the torn veil to meet with God at the communion table.

  • Communion

    Just before Jesus breathed His last breath, He said two very important things.  First, He cried out to His Father, saying, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) In that moment, Jesus was experiencing not only the pain of the cross, but the full weight of the curse of the cross as well.  In Old Testament times, when a person’s sin was grievous, their body would be taken outside the city and hung on a tree (Deuteronomy 21:23).  This was a sign to all that this person was cursed and forsaken by God.  In Galatians 3:13, the Apostle Paul reminds us that at the cross, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — as it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”  Jesus became cursed for us, so we could be holy before God; He was forsaken by the Father so that we could be accepted.  


    Then, in His last breath, Jesus said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)  He had assumed our sin, and freed us to have a relationship with God.  This relationship with God begins as we turn from living a life apart from Him, and choose instead to trust Him for the forgiveness of our sins and to follow His lead from here on out.  


    We express this faith in a tangible way through eating this bread and drinking this juice (a gluten free bread option is available).  The bread and juice are not magical.  They are symbolic of Christ’s body which was broken, and his blood that was shed so that we could be made right with God.  


    Take the Bread and Pray: Jesus, I see that your body is broken so that I am made whole.  Thank you for going to the cross for my sins.  (Eat)


    Take the cup and Pray: I recognize that your blood is shed so that my sins are forgiven.  Thank you for dying for me.  (Drink)

  • Station #7 Jesus is taken from the Cross

    Reading: John 19:38-39

    After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.


    Prayer: 

    Jesus, you lived the life we should have lived, and you died the death we should have died.  You were obedient, even unto death, having lived a sinless life.  You took my place, bearing the weight of my sin. Because you were condemned, you commend us to your Father's hands.  Give us courage and strength, that we might stand for you as you have stood in our place. 


    Reflection/Application

    Oddly, it’s not the disciples standing with Jesus in this moment.  They have fled.  Yet two admirers of Jesus draw close, and at this critical moment, they honor Jesus.  We need God’s grace and courage to know how to live for Jesus, despite our fears and obstacles. Smell the myrrh and let it remind you to honor Jesus, being willing to be known as his follower.

  • Station #8- Jesus is buried

    Reading: Matthew 27:57-60

    When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.


    Prayer:

    My Jesus, without your death I too, would be dead. Without your resurrection, I would not have the hope of a new life. Jesus, for my salvation You took the painful journey of the Cross. Let your light shine through me.  


    Reflection/Application:

    They take Jesus’ body to its resting place. The huge stone over the tomb is the final sign of the permanence of death. I stand for a moment outside this tomb. This final journey of his body has shown me the meaning of His gift of Himself for me. This tomb represents every tomb I stand before with fear, in defeat. Even the disciples struggled to believe it could ever be empty.  Yet, even in death, Jesus brings us hope. His death is not the last word, and because he takes up his life in three days, there is hope.  Light your candle and leave it with the other candles as a sign of the hope we have in Christ. 

Thank you

Thank you for participating in The Stations of the Cross.  

We pray that this was a meaningful time for you this Easter weekend.


We hope you will join us at one of our Easter services on SUNDAY at 9:15 or 11am.  


From all of us here at The Bridge Community, we hope that you have an incredible Easter, and we pray God’s blessing on you today.