Guide to the Stations of the Cross
This guide is designed to help you walk through the stations and story of Jesus’ journey to the cross.
Each station should take five to ten minutes to complete.
Allow yourself to be immersed in the story. Use your imagination to put yourself in the story.
Use the images and artwork to help you notice the significance of each moment.
For Parents and Children. Each station has a hands-on activity for kids
Each station might be too much reading for children. We recommend, explaining and summarizing the story and letting kids as questions.
To help with this, we will have eggs at each stations with something inside to help illustrate this part of the story. Use that to explain the story.
Lastly, we will also have the option of watching a kids appropriate version of Jesus’ life in the second floor on the TV. If they want to watch that while adults go through the stations
You start walking through the moment of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Remember his coming into the city to save and redeem the world. Remember how quickly he goes from praised by the crowds to condemned by them.
Read Luke 22:7-23
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”’
“Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
Jesus says this is a new covenant, a new commitment, a new promise. Everything that comes after this moment is Jesus making a new covenant of redemption and restoration. He will make a new people…through the cross. As you take communion and enter this walk, consider the promise and passion of Jesus: his body given, his blood shed.
Spend Time taking communion with those you’re walking with around the table. Pray for God to meet you, teach you, and speak to you as you do the stations of the cross.
Station 1: JEsus is Tempted
Read Luke 22:39-46
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Jesus goes to a place of prayer. In a garden, he submits his life to the Father. This submission comes with asking for another way and a commitment to the way of the Father. It is in this moment and in this garden he is tempted to reject God and walk his own way.
Q: What other temptations happen in a garden? How did Adam respond? How is Jesus redeeming that garden story?
Jesus also tells his his disciples to pray for strength against their own temptation? What temptations do you think were set before them as Jesus takes the cross?
Pray for yourselves: how does temptation come your way? Thank Jesus for taking your temptations
For Parents and Children: Explain what temptation is (when your heart and mind wants to disobey and hurt others) ask the children if they’ve experienced that and how they respond. Then explain that Jesus resisted temptation his whole life! He never sinned but instead obeyed God all the way to death for us!
Station 2: Jesus is Betrayed
Read Luke 22:47-62
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Here Jesus is betrayed by two of his followers. The first hands him over to religious rulers. Judas did this for money and out of resistance to Jesus’ kingdom. The second, Peter, betrays Jesus through denial. Out of fear of man, he claims he didn’t even know Jesus and never walked with him.
Q: How can you relate to these betrayals?
Prayer of Confession. Confess your sins to God and to those you’re walking with. Confess the ways you exchange the truth of God for your own gain and times you fear others more than you fear Jesus.
For Parents and Children: Explain what betrayal (a friend close to you not caring about you, and in fact hurting you) and ask the kids if they’ve ever experienced that. Then, explain Jesus was betrayed deeply for our sake. We also betray Jesus.
Station 3: Jesus is Condemned
At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”
Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”
He replied, “You say that I am.”
Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”
Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”
So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”
On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.
Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”
But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)
Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”
But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
Jesus is judged and condemned—guilty. A verdict is spoken over him and he receives it. His innocent life is exchanged for a murderer’s. Jesus, who had already surrendered to the will of the Father, receives his sentence to die at the hands of earthly kingdoms.
Imagine this scene. Imagine the love Jesus has for you that he would accept this condemnation on your behalf.
Pray: Lament knowing that the “reward” of your sin is death. That sin’s presence and penalty has filled the human heart. Praise God, that Jesus took your judgement.
For Parents and Children: Explain the trials of Jesus and how people wanted him to die. Explain the story and how we should have died, but Jesus died for us.
Station 4: Jesus is Mocked
Read Mark 15:16-20
The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
They belittled Jesus, made fun of him, and mocked his kingdom. They pretended to worship. Ironically, he was the king. They simultaneously proclaimed truth with their lips and rejected the truth with their hearts.
Silently imagine the mocking.
Speak out loud the ways you mock Jesus
For Parents and Children: Explain what it means to mock (making fun of, and making feel bad). Have they ever mocked someone? Have they been mocked? Then explain how they did that to Jesus.
Station 5: Jesus is Given his Cross
Read John 19:16-22
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
John, a close friend of Jesus, uses this emotion filled word: finally. Finally, the mockery and trials had ended. Now Jesus was given the cross to carry. Finally, the end was coming. But also, finally, after all the generations of sin, sorrow, evil, and death…the promised one had taken up the cross. He was the true King
For Parents and Children: Explain the cross. The hardship of it and how he would now carry the cross to the spot where they would kill him. He had to carry the thing that would kill him. Just as he carries our sin.
Station 6: Jesus Falls
Read Isaiah 53
Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
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.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
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.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah had looked forward to this Good Friday. Jesus was carrying out our deepest hope and deepest sadness. How could this king do this for us? How deep is the Father’s love? How vast is his sacrifice? How all encompassing is this salvation?
Imagine Jesus’ long walk with the cross. Imagine the stumbles, the exhaustion, the wounds, the mockery. Imagine the lamb to be slaughtered, and the bearing not just of a cross but the sins of many.
For Parents and Children: help the kids imagine the walk with the cross as we describe above.
Station 7: Simon Carries the Cross
Read Luke 23:26-32
As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’ For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.
The soldiers were impatient with Jesus. They didn’t like the spectacle of the followers weeping and wailing. So they forced someone else to carry the cross. Imagine carrying the cross. Imagine hearing the weeping, the wailing, and the sorrow.
For Parents and Children: Explain to children, because Jesus had been beaten so much he couldn’t carry the cross anymore. So they picked someone to carry it for him. Can you imagine that?
Station 8: Jesus is Stripped
Read John 19:23-27
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.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”
So this is what the soldiers did.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Arriving finally to the top of the hill with the moment of death looking down on him, they stripped him of all his clothing. This is the final humiliation, naked before the crowd, bleeding, and bruised.
Yet, even within this humiliation Jesus has a moment of powerful love. Jesus looked to his mother and his disciple (likely John), and declares them a family.
For Parents and Children: Explain that they took all of his clothes off, and kept them for themselves. Also explain how Jesus cared for his mother.
Station 9: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
Read 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. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
They nail Jesus to his death chamber. This torturous death was to make certain no one ever attempted to come against the empire. They made this death public so everyone would know and be warned. But in this nailing, the kingdom of God is in full view: “Forgive them.”
Receive the prayer of Jesus. “That you would be forgiven through his crucifixion.”
Pray: Thank Jesus for forgiveness.
For Parents and Children: Explain how Jesus’ body was held on the cross by nails going through his hands and feet.
Station 10: Jesus Dies
Read John 19:28-37
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. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”
Jesus says: “It is finished”. They pierce his side and receive a rush of water and of blood. Throughout the scriptures water and blood are key themes of God’s provision not just to save but to bring abundant life. In John’s gospel, many scenes are built around fountains, pools, and exchanges for water.
In one of the most climactic moments of Jesus’ life, Jesus stood next to a fountain in Jerusalem that commemorated the water coming from the rocks for the redeemed Israelites in the dessert. In that moment Jesus called out to the crowds: “All who are thirsty come and drink. Drink of the living water and thirst no more.”
Jesus’ death fulfills the Scriptures and satisfies the longing of every human soul. Jesus’ death is the way to life—life abundant.
For Parents and Children: Summarizes this story and explain how Jesus died. He was dead.
Station 11: Jesus is Buried
Read John 19:38-42
Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
In the end, two religious leaders bargain with the Roman governor for the body of Jesus. The two men unceremoniously lay Jesus’ body in a tomb. This is where the story is supposed to end.
For Parents and Children: Explain how Jesus was buried in a tomb and everyone expected that to be the end of Jesus. But it wasn’t. That’s what Easter is all about.