Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
I. Jesus in agony, Garden of Gethsemane
They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’
Lord Jesus, you entered the garden of fear and faced the agony of your impending death: be with those who share that agony and face death unwillingly this day. You shared our fear and knew the weakness of our humanity: give strength and hope to the dispirited and despairing. To you, Jesus, who sweated blood, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
II. Jesus betrayed by Judas and arrested
Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him.
Lord Jesus, you were betrayed by the kiss of a friend: be with those who are betrayed and slandered and falsely accused. You knew the experience of having your love thrown back in your face for mere silver: be with families which are torn apart by mistrust or temptation. To you, Jesus, who offered your face to your betrayer, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
III. Jesus condemned by the Sanhedrin
Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, ‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands”.’ But even on this point their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’ But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power”, and “coming with the clouds of heaven”.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?’ All of them condemned him as deserving death.
Lord Jesus, you were the victim of religious bigotry: be with those who are persecuted by small-minded authority. You faced the condemnation of fearful hearts: deepen the understanding of those who shut themselves off from the experience and wisdom of others. To you, Jesus, unjustly judged victim, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
IV. Peter denies Jesus
At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.
Lord Jesus, as Peter betrayed you, you experienced the double agony of love rejected and friendship denied: be with those who know no friends and are rejected by society. You understood the fear within Peter: help us to understand the anxieties of those who fear for their future. To you, Jesus, who gazed with sadness at your lost friend, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
V. Jesus judged by Pilate
Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
Lord Jesus, you were condemned to death for political expediency: be with those who are imprisoned for the convenience of the powerful. You were the victim of unbridled injustice: change the minds and motivations of oppressors and exploiters to your way of peace. To you, Jesus, innocent though condemned, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
VI. Jesus scourged and crowned with thorns
And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.
Lord Jesus, you faced the torment of barbaric punishment and mocking tongue: be with those who cry out in physical agony and emotional distress. You endured unbearable abuse: be with those who face torture and mockery in our world today. To you, Jesus, the King crowned with thorns, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
VII. Jesus carries the cross
After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
Lord Jesus, you carried the cross through the rough streets of Jerusalem: be with those who are loaded with burdens beyond their strength. You bore the weight of our sins when you carried the cross: help us to realize the extent and the cost of your love for us. To you, Jesus, bearing a cross not your own, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
VIII. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross
They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus.
Lord Jesus, you were worn down by fatigue: be with those from whom life drains all energy. You needed the help of a passing stranger: give us the humility to receive aid from others. To you, Jesus, weighed down with exhaustion and in need of help, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
IX. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us.” For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’
Lord Jesus, the women of Jerusalem wept for you: move us to tears at the plight of the broken in our world. You embraced the pain of Jerusalem, the ‘city of peace’: bless Jerusalem this day and lead it to the path of profound peace. To you, Jesus, the King of peace who wept for the city of peace, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
X. Jesus is crucified
And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
Lord Jesus, you bled in pain as the nails were driven into your flesh: transform through the mystery of your love the pain of those who suffer. To you, Jesus, our crucified Lord, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
XI. Jesus promises the kingdom to the penitent thief
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
Lord Jesus, even in your deepest agony you listened to the crucified thief: hear us as we unburden to you our deepest fears. You spoke words of love in your hour of death: help us to speak words of life to a dying world. To you, Jesus, who offer hope to the hopeless, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
XII. Jesus on the cross; his mother and his friend
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
Lord Jesus, your mother and your dearest friend stayed with you to the bitter end, yet even while racked with pain you ministered to them: be with all broken families today and care for those who long for companionship. You cared for your loved ones even in your death-throes: give us a love for one another that is stronger even than the fear of death. To you, Jesus, loving in the face of death, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
XIII. Jesus dies on the cross
At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
Lord Jesus, you died on the cross and entered the bleakest of all circumstances: give courage to those who die at the hands of others. In death you entered into the darkest place of all: illumine our darkness with your glorious presence. To you, Jesus, your lifeless body hanging on the tree of shame, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
XIV. Jesus laid in the tomb
Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.
Lord Jesus, Lord of life, you became as nothing for us: be with those who feel worthless and as nothing in the world’s eyes. You were laid in a cold, dark tomb and hidden from sight: be with all who suffer and die in secret, hidden from the eyes of the world. To you, Jesus, your rigid body imprisoned in a tomb, be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.