This week’s focus isn’t on a teaching video or discussion but more on an opportunity to enter into the story together as we follow Jesus to the cross. A chance to experience Jesus as the embodiment of all we have been learning– the Beatitudes, the sermon on the mount, the Lord’s Prayer.
Before you begin:
Reader One: Green Text
Reader Two: Normal Print
Reader Three: Bold Print [Jesus]
‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles took their places at the table. I have really looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you. I wanted to do this before I suffer. I tell you, I will not eat the Passover meal again until it is celebrated in God’s kingdom.”
After Jesus took the cup, he gave thanks. “Take this cup and share it among yourselves. I tell you, I will not drink wine with you again until God’s kingdom comes.”
Then Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do this in memory of me.”
(Everyone eat bread together)
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. It is poured out for you.
(Everyone Drink cup together)
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives. His disciples followed him. When they reached the place, Jesus spoke. “Pray that you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted,” he said to them.
Then he went a short distance away from them. There he got down on his knees and prayed. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup of suffering away from me. But do what you want, not what I want.”
Our Father in Heaven, holy is your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus and gave him strength. Because he was very sad and troubled, he prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
After that, he got up from prayer and went back to the disciples. He found them sleeping. They were worn out because they were very sad. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up! Pray that you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted.”
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd came up. The man named Judas was leading them. He was one of the 12 disciples. Judas approached Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you handing over the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen. So they said, “Lord, should we use our swords against them?” One of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, “Stop this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.
Then Jesus spoke to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders. They had all come for him. “Am I leading a band of armed men against you? Do you have to come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courtyard. And you didn’t lay a hand on me. But this is your hour. This is when darkness rules.”…
Then the men arrested Jesus and led him away….
There were men guarding Jesus. They began laughing at him and beating him. They blindfolded him. They said, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” They also said many other things to make fun of him.
‘You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
At dawn the elders of the people met together. These included the chief priests and the teachers of the law. Jesus was led to 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 the Son of God then?”
He replied, “You say that I am.”
Then they said, “Why do we need any more witnesses? We have heard it from his own lips.”
Then the whole group got up and led Jesus off to Pilate. They began to bring charges against Jesus. They said, “We have found this man misleading our people. He is against paying taxes to Caesar. And he claims to be Messiah, a king.”
So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so”
Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people. “You brought me this man. You said he was turning the people against the authorities. I have questioned him in front of you. I have found no basis for your charges against him. Herod hasn’t either. So he sent Jesus back to us. As you can see, Jesus has done nothing that is worthy of death. So I will just have him whipped and let him go.”
But the whole crowd shouted, “Kill this man! But let Barabbas go!” Barabbas had been thrown into prison. He had taken part in a struggle in the city against the authorities. He had also committed murder.
Pilate wanted to let Jesus go. So he made an appeal to the crowd again. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Pilate spoke to them for the third time. “Why?” he asked. “What wrong has this man done? I have found no reason to have him put to death. So I will just have him whipped and let him go.”
But with loud shouts they kept calling for Jesus to be crucified. The people’s shouts won out. So Pilate decided to give them what they wanted. 25 He set free the man they asked for. The man had been thrown in prison for murder and for fighting against the authorities. Pilate handed Jesus over to them so they could carry out their plans.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for the they will inherit the earth
As the soldiers led Jesus away, they took hold of Simon. Simon was from Cyrene. He was on his way in from the country. They put a wooden cross on his shoulders. Then they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed Jesus. Some were women whose hearts were filled with sorrow. They cried loudly because of him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me. Weep for yourselves and for your children.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Two other men were also led out with Jesus to be killed. Both of them had broken the law. The soldiers brought them to the place called the Skull. There they nailed Jesus to the cross. He hung between the two criminals. One was on his right and one was on his left. “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” The soldiers divided up his clothes by casting lots.
‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour[i] and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
The people stood there watching. The rulers even made fun of Jesus. They said, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him. They offered him wine vinegar. They said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
A written sign had been placed above him. It read, this is the king of the jews.
One of the criminals hanging there made fun of Jesus. He said, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself! Save us!”
But the other criminal scolded him. “Don’t you have any respect for God?” he said. “Remember, you are under the same sentence of death. We are being punished fairly. We are getting just what our actions call for. But this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “What I’m about to tell you is true. Today you will be with me in paradise.”
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
It was now about noon. Then darkness covered the whole land until three o’clock. The sun had stopped shining. The temple curtain was torn in two. Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my life.” After he said this, he took his last breath.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The Roman commander saw what had happened. He praised God and said, “Jesus was surely a man who did what was right.” The people had gathered to watch this sight. When they saw what happened, they felt very sad. Then they went away. But all those who knew Jesus stood not very far away, watching these things. They included the women who had followed him from Galilee.
Image credit: Wisnu Sasongko (Indonesian, 1975–), Last Night in Gethsemane, 2005. Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 34 in.
Optional: Use this music for reading and entering in.