What is this practice?
The Stations of the Cross, are typically 14 stations that prayerfully mark the path of the various scenes and sites of Jesus on Good Friday. Many Churches celebrate by setting up physical crosses in different locations and walking from one cross to another to mark the journey of Christ, whilst reading key biblical texts and prayers.
Where did it come from?
You might be interested to know that back in AD 313 emperor Constantine made Christianity legal, causing many Christians to flock back to the Holy Land to visit the historic sites and homeland of Jesus – in particular to find solidarity with Christ by walking the journey of Christ through Holy Week.
Over the years, this practice became more and more prominent in the Church, with pilgrims desiring to stop prayerfully at all the sites associated with Good Friday. The practice of visiting the historic sites in the Holy Land became restricted around the twelfth century, when the land fell under Muslim rule. Saint Francis and followers then encouraged believers to walk through the same journey by creating replicas of the stations of the cross with your own church. This is the way in which many churches practice this today.
How can you practice?
Whether or not you are able to attend a stations of the cross service today, it is still helpful and meaningful to walk the path of Christ wherever you happen to be today. Below we have provided the 14 different stations along with key passages from scripture to help you trace the journey of Christ to His crucifixion.
This is a powerful practice that allows us to deeply contemplate the great mystery of Jesus’ sacrifice of himself for us. By moving through these texts we invite you to embrace the gift of Christ’s sacrifice in both your mind and heart. By walking from location to location to read, you may involve your body in the worship as well.
Good Friday is a sober, sorrowful day, but I am also overcome by the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice in a way that brings me to my knees in both grief and awe.
May you be moved and ministered to by the footsteps of Christ,
Jenna and The Practice Team
The Stations Of The Cross
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, Is Arrested
And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him.
Jesus Is Condemned by the Sanhedrin
When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”
Jesus Is Denied by Peter
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus Is Judged by Pilate
And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Mark 15:1-5, 15
Jesus Is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns
Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.
John 19: 1-3
Jesus Bears the Cross
When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”
They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.
John 19: 6, 15-17
Jesus Is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross
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.
Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
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?”
Jesus Is Crucified
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Jesus Dies on the Cross
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
Jesus Is Placed in the Tomb
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.