A Self-Guided Meditative Journey
Through The Final Hours Before Crucifixion
Our hope is that this self-guided experience will not only enlighten you to the enormity of Christ’s love for each of us, but the depths this love reaches. Christ walked a path no other has ever taken, this was done at a great sacrifice and given freely for all.
Station #1 – The Last Supper
Articles to Observe/Partake: The Communion Table & Footwashing
Jesus’ time is at hand and He observes a passover meal with His disciples instituting the Lord’s Supper. Jesus also washes the disciple’s feet setting an example of servitude towards others. The disciples were not exactly comfortable allowing Jesus to wash their feet, but Jesus knew it was an important experience for them to have. The washing of feet was a typical custom when gathering together. Men and women wore sandals, and the dusty conditions of the roads led to very dirty feet. It was the job of the household servant to wash the guest’s feet, but at the gathering on this evening, there was no servant to wash the disciples’ feet, and none of them volunteered for the task. So Jesus got on his knees and humbled himself by washing their feet himself, as an example of humility for them to follow.
We invite you to allow us to wash your feet as part of tonight’s experience. After having your feet washed, please serve yourself communion and spend a few moments in quiet reflection before moving on.
Luke 22:14-20 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
John 13:3-5 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Station #2 – The Garden of Gethsemane
Article to Observe: Video Loop and Garden Setting
Jesus retreats to a garden to pray, asking for His Father to strengthen Him for the events He knows are at hand.
Luke 22:39-44 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Prophecy & Fulfillment: Smitten and Spit Upon
Prophecy: Isaiah 50:6 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.
Station #3 – Jesus is Scourged
Articles to Observe: Crown of Thorns, Whip, and Robe
Jesus has stood before Pontius Pilate in silent response to the accusations brought
against Him. He is stripped, beaten, and a crown of thorns is placed upon
His head. The crowd calls for the release of Barabbas instead.
Mark 15:16-20 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
Matthew 27: 26 Then he [Pilate] released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified
Scourge is defined “a cause of wide or great affliction…a whip used to inflict pain or punishment.” Jesus endured every lash of the whip to his flesh – a picture of what sin does to humanity. The effects of sin tear the fabric of countries, communities, and families. Sin shreds the heart of every human being made in His image.
If you are a Christ-follower, you have been given a unique gift: a heart of flesh beating in a fallen world. Flesh has nerve endings – it feels. If your heart is alive, it will feel pain. It will tear with grief over sin – your own and that of others. May the scourging of Jesus remind us that the pain we feel as sin’s victims, the guilt we experience as its perpetrators, pales in comparison with the physical, psychological and spiritual pain Jesus endured at the hands of brutal, stone-hearted soldiers.
Holy Spirit, as we consider this memory of Christ’s scourging, move our hearts to a deeper love of Christ. Make us more like Jesus so we can love courageously in a stone-hearted world.
Ezekiel 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Prophecy & Fulfillment: Silent Before Accusers
Prophecy: Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:12-14 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.
Station #4 – Jesus Carries His Cross
Articles to Observe: Footprints In Sand and Cross
Jesus is sentenced and handed over to be crucified.
John 19:16-17 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of The Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
Prophecy & Fulfillment: Hands and Feet Pierced
Prophecy: Psalm 22:16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierced my hands and my feet.
Fulfillment: Luke 23:33 And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.
Station #5 – Jesus is Nailed To The Cross
Articles to Observe: Nails And Hammer
Jesus is nailed upon a cross.
Luke 23:33-34 When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Matthew 27:31, 33-34 “…they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.”
It has been said that it wasn’t the nails but love that held Jesus on the cross. He could have called down legions of angels at any moment to stop the entire proceeding. Yet he did not. He permits the nails to be driven into his hands and feet. Our Savior submits to the Father and experiences complete immobility, naked vulnerability, and unspeakable pain. Offered a drink to numb the torment, Jesus refused. He had one purpose: to drink this cup of suffering to its dregs, fully conscious, for the sin of the entire world.
Nothing we go through can compare to the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross. However, painful circumstances may leave us feeling pinned to a life we did not choose. Wouldn’t a painkilling distraction be a welcome relief? And yet, here is Jesus, committing to the cross and shunning even a legitimate painkiller.
Holy Spirit, as we consider Jesus’ willingness to stay fully conscious at the cross, give us the daily bread of His comfort and strength to face whatever distresses us – no matter how large or small. Help us to remember that He is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, all because he chose to endure the unendurable for each one of us.
Prophecy & Fulfillment: Jesus commits himself to God
Prophecy Psalm 31:5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
Fulfillment: Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Station #6 – Jesus Hangs on The Cross
Article to Observe: Ice Sculpture
Jesus is hung on a cross between two thieves.
Mark 15:25-27, 33-34 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him, they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 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?”
Crucifixion was invented by the Romans as the most painful and tortuous method of execution they could think of – it’s where we get the English word “excruciating.” People often hung on the cross many hours or even days. It was designed not only to kill, not only to torture, but also to humiliate and to shame. Victims were stripped of all their clothing, down to a simple loincloth, and left exposed to the eyes of onlookers, with arms splayed wide. Exposed also to the elements. The harsh sun in the day, the piercing wind and cold at night.
And yet the greatest punishment, the greatest torture, was that the Father turned away. Jesus had only ever known the incredible intimacy of oneness with the Father, but now that bond was torn. That love was ripped away. And Jesus was left naked and alone, hanging on a cross.
Jesus took on the shame of our sin, embracing it with his outstretched arms, and bore the weight of our punishment.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Prophecy & Fulfillment: Garments and lots
Prophecy: Psalm 22:18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
Fulfillment: John 19:23-24 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
Prophecy & Fulfillment: Gall and Vinegar
Prophecy: Psalm 69:21 They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
Fulfillment: John19:28-29 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.
Station #7 – Jesus is Mocked
Articles to Observe: King of the Jews Sign, Sponge with Vinegar, Clay Dice
As Jesus hangs on the cross He is mocked by the rulers and soldiers.
Luke 23:34b-40 And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also
an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?”
Prophecy & Fulfillment: Buried in rich man’s tomb
Prophecy Isaiah 53:9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27-57-60 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
Station #8 – The Tomb
Article to Observe: Stone At the Tomb
Jesus is buried.
Matthew 27:57-61 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
They thought he was the one. They were sure of it. They had dedicated the last three years, and the rest of their lives, to following him. To proclaiming the good news that the long awaited Messiah had come. God’s kingdom had come!
They had seen him perform countless miracles; healings, walking on water, calming a storm, even raising a man from death to life. Clearly he was no mere man.
And yet here was the stone. With his bruised and bloodied body behind it. This stone. The final symbol of their dreams dashed. An impenetrable wall between them and the one they called Savior. How could it be? This made no sense. What went wrong? Was this a dream? Had he really left them? Was it really all for nothing?
Disbelief and numbness. Did they even dare to ask the question “what now?”
Station #9 – The Torn Veil
Article to Observe: Stained Glass Rendering
Matthew 27:51 & 54 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Matthew 27:50-51 “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom”
The temple in Jerusalem was the place of worship for God’s people. Jewish life revolved around the temple. It was a sacred and holy place, set apart. The temple represented the physical location where God met with his people.
The temple had one courtyard where only Jews were allowed, beyond that another where only the Jewish priests were allowed, and beyond that still was the Holy of Holies, an inner sanctum where only the high priest was allowed to enter, and even he was only allowed to enter once a year, in order to make atonement for the sins of all the people.
The Holy of Holies was separated from the rest of the temple by a huge veil, about 60 feet high, and four inches thick. It represented the separation between God and man.
At the moment of Jesus’ death “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Jesus’ death had paid the price. No longer was a high priest needed to make atonement for the people’s sin. No longer was God hidden behind a veil. God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with hands.
The Holy of Holies was now open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile!
Station #10 – Journal/Reflection/Prayer
There will be comment journals in the Reflection/Journal Area, at the end for all who wish to share thoughts from your experience.