Stations of the cross (latin: Via Crucis) is a visual representation of Jesus’ suffering from the time when Pontius Pilate condemned him to death until the moment when he was put in the grave.
The stations of the cross are above all a prayer we pray when we remember Jesus’ suffering. The Evangelical Church and some other Protestant Churches also pray the cross of the Cross. See also the article on Good Friday meaning an message.
The stations of the cross evolved from the devotions of pilgrims who followed Jesus’ path from Jerusalem to the Golgotha. The Son of God had to go to the grave, so that Father’s love and power is revealed.
On the way, they stopped and prayed, and they remembered the individual scenes of Jesus’ suffering. The stations of the cross spread throughout Europe, especially after the 13th century, due to the devotion of St Francis of Assisi and his disciples.
Famous stations of the cross:
- Sanctuary of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska
- Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima Portugal
- Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
So let see now what are the 14 stations of the cross in order!
14 stations of the cross explanation
I. Pilate condemns Jesus to die – Luke 23,20-25
20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again.
21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
22 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.”
23 But with loud shouts, they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.
24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand.
25 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.
II. Jesus accepts his cross – 1 Peter 2, 24-25
24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds, you have been healed.”
25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
III. Jesus falls for the first time – Isaiah 53,4-5
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 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.
IV. Jesus meets his mother, Mary – Luke 2,34-35
34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,
35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
V. Simon helps carry the cross – Mark 15,21
26 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.
VI. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus – Psalm 27,8-9
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior.
VII. Jesus falls for the second time – Psalm 118,11.12-13.18
11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
VIII. Jesus meets the three women of Jerusalem – Luke 23,28
23 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.
28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.
IX. Jesus falls for the third time – Romans 8,35-37
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36 As it is written:
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
X. Jesus is stripped of his clothes – John 19,23-24
23 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.
24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
XI. Jesus is nailed to the cross – Mark 15,24-28
24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read the king of the jews.
27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.
XII. Jesus dies on the cross – John, 19,28-30
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
29 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.
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
XIII. Jesus is taken down from the cross – Matthew 27,57-58
57 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.
XIV. Jesus is placed in the tomb – John 19,41-42
41 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.
42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
The 14 Stations of the Cross explanation paints Jesus’ last human path. Under the weight of the cross on the way to Golgotha. We follow Jesus from Pilate’s house to Golgotha. On the path, it is possible to revive the path that leads through torment and death to heaven.
For there is no Resurrection without Crucifixion when we pray for our Christ and we praise Him because He has saved the world with His cross.
Bible excerpts: www.biblegateway.com