The Wonder Report: April 2, 2021
Stations of the Cross
Because today is no normal Friday, I wanted to offer you something different than the usual Wonder Report. Below, you’ll find 14 paintings by the French painter James Tissot. Each one represents one of the Stations of the Cross, a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion. You’ll also find brief scripture references and a short prayer with each image.
My prayer is that this resource will help you reflect on the significance of this day, the torture and pain of Jesus giving himself over to save the world, and prepare you for the glory and hope of Easter Sunday.
First Station: Jesus in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
TEXT: Matthew 26:36-38
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, what heaviness you carried with you into the garden and what love you had for us all that you would bear the guilt and shame of the whole world. Thank you for your presence with us as we carry our own sorrows and thank you for freedom from sin you accomplished for us.
Second Station: Jesus betrayed by Judas and arrested
TEXT: Matthew 26:47-50
PRAYER: Lord, you know what it’s like to experience such betrayal, and yet you still called Judas friend, even as his kiss condemned you. Help us to forgive those who mislead or abandon us. And thank you for dying for us, even when we, too, were your enemies.
Third Station: Jesus condemned by the Sanhedrin
TEXT: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2
PRAYER: Your trial was a mockery, and the evidence they brought against you a sham. Yet you received their judgment with truth and hope. If only the religious leaders could have seen it. Help us see the truth of your gospel. And thank you that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Fourth Station: Peter denies Jesus
TEXT: Matthew 26:69-75
PRAYER: Another betrayal, Lord. Did this one hurt as much as the first? Did it help to know that Peter would repent and return to you? Lord, when we sin and fail to follow the path you’ve laid out for us, thank you for always welcoming us back too.
Fifth Station: Jesus judged by Pilate
TEXT: John 19:4-16
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Pilate knew that you weren’t an insurrectionist; he knew the Jewish leaders sought your life because of jealousy and greed. Even that truth couldn’t take the place of faith in Pilate’s life, though. We believe, Lord, help our unbelief.
Sixth Station: Jesus scourged and crowned with thorns
TEXT: Mark 15:15-20
PRAYER: If only those who mocked and scorned you knew who you really are? As they draped the robe over you and twisted thorns into a crown, they cried out the truth, “Behold the King of Jews,” without even realizing it. Help us not miss the reality and majesty of who you are.
Seventh Station: Jesus carries his cross
TEXT: John 19:16-17
PRAYER: Lord, the weight of the cross was too heavy for your wounded body, but the weight of the world’s sin was not. Thank you for carrying your cross for us, and thank you that even now, you carry our burdens and give your lighter yoke to us.
Eighth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross
TEXT: Mark 15:21
PRAYER: Lord, like Simon the Cyrenian who carried your cross to Golgotha, you’ve told that that “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Give us strength, courage, and faith to bear such weight.
Ninth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
TEXT: Luke 23:27-31
PRAYER: Lord, even on your way to the cross you never stopped calling your followers to repentance and inviting them to follow you. Even now, we weep for ourselves in this fallen world, and we long for the day when you will return to set all things right.
Tenth Station: Jesus is crucified
TEXT: Mark 15:25
PRAYER: Lord, they say, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Thank you for redeeming us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us.
Eleventh Station: Jesus promises the kingdom to the penitent thief
TEXT: Luke 23:39-43
PRAYER: Lord, when you saved the thief on the cross, you showed us the extent of your love and mercy: Nothing we do or don’t do earns us a place with you. Only your grace is sufficient.
Twelfth Station: Jesus on the cross; his mother and his friend
TEXT: John 19:25-27
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, that you cared specifically about your dear mother even from the cross gives us a vision for how you want us to care for each other, both in our families and in your family. Help us love like you do.
Thirteenth Station: Jesus dies on the cross
TEXT: Mark 15:33-39
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, give us eyes to see like the Centurion, whose front row seat to your suffering helped him truly see you. We pray that our time before your cross would give us a better glimpse of who you are, even today.
Fourteenth Station: Jesus laid in the tomb
TEXT: Matthew 27:57-61
PRAYER: What sorrow your friends and followers must have felt, believing you had died. What darkness must have descended over their lives, what fear and disbelief. We know this isn’t the end of the story, yet even now, we still experience the power and presence of sin in our lives too. Help us not lose hope. Help us to keep watching and waiting for you.
Blessings to you for this Easter weekend. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a coming!