Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Most disciples of Christ know that Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday. However, they might not know much more about what happened as Jesus made His way to the cross.
There were some definite places worth knowing about along the path that Jesus took as he journeyed to His death. There are 14 distinct spots along the way. They are called stations of the cross.
Those who have been to Jerusalem might have been on a tour where they followed the route Jesus took. That route is known by several names.
- The Via Dolorosa
- Stations of the Cross
- Way of the Cross
- Way of Sorrows
- Via Crucis
Many churches give their congregation the chance to walk along a similar path without going to Jerusalem. They do so by using images, symbols, plaques, paintings or other objects to represent each one of the spots along the way. Some churches that can do so, play soft music as people travel along the path.
The tour is scheduled for any day of Holy Week even though most churches prefer doing it on Good Friday which was the actual day that Jesus walked the path to His death.
Some of the people stop for a short time at each of the fourteen stations to meditate, read a scripture, pray or just stand and be silent. Some people prefer being alone to think about what Jesus went through. Others like to experience each station with their family and friends.
It doesn't matter how the tour is conducted. What is important is that people get to see and connect with what Jesus suffered on the way to His own death.
Stations of the Cross
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested
Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
Jesus is denied by Peter
Jesus is judged by Pontius Pilate
Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
Jesus takes up his cross
Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross
Jesus tells the women not to weep for Him but for themselves and their own families
Jesus is hung on the cross.
Jesus promises his kingdom to the repentant thief
Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other.
Jesus dies on the cross.
Jesus is laid in the tomb
Notice that all the gospels are listed except the Gospel of Mark. Also, notice that only 14 stations are included even though there could have been more. For instance, Jesus spoke seven statements from the cross. However, only two of them are listed.
All recordings of the stations of the cross do not match. Some of them show Jesus tripping and falling three times. The chart above doesn't show any of the fallings. A recording shows when the clothes of Jesus are removed. However, that scene is not listed on the chart above. Some recordings go outside of scriptures and include legends. The chart above includes only what is recorded in three of the four gospels.
Notice that a crowd walked along with Jesus and many others followed Him. Those who were noticeably absent from the crowd were His own disciples. One list shows that Peter denied Jesus once, but he denied Jesus three times. Besides, the denials were not on the path. Peter denied Jesus outside the court, but he was not in close proximity to Jesus at the time.
Notice that the stations only show Jesus' journey to the cross and what happened on the cross. That is the end of His journey on Good Friday. Disciples of Christ know very well that was not the end of the story. Christians know that they are not saved just because Jesus died on the cross, but that they are saved because God raised Jesus from the dead three days later just like Jesus said He would.
Read the Gospels
In order to get the most out of what Jesus endured as He traveled the path to the cross, read all the gospel recordings. Doing so will also help you understand the path better even if you never get to travel the actual Via Dolorosa path in Jerusalem or in a symbolic one in your own church or community.
Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on April 19, 2019:
Yes, Louise. Many Christians go on the tour on Good Friday to reflect on the path Jesus took the day He died.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 19, 2019:
I have heard of these stations before, but it was interesting reading this and learning about it. Thankyou. =)