For hundreds of years, Christians who visited Jerusalem have retraced the steps Jesus took during the last 24 hours of his life. In the 12th century St Francis of Assisi was charged with looking after the sites in Jerusalem associated with Jesus’ death and resurrection. He encouraged people to stop at each significant point and reflect on the fact that everything Jesus did as he went to his death was done on our behalf. He called those fourteen significant points ‘stations’.
During the 17th century permission was given to the Franciscan Order (the monks who followed the way of St Francis) to place pictures of the stations of the cross in churches. Christians no longer had to go to Jerusalem to walk from station to station remembering Jesus. They could do it in a church in their own neighbourhood.
Now the stations of the cross come even closer. They come to your computer.
We invite you to click on each image in turn and reflect on it. The pictures by Jenny Hawke tell the story of the night and day which culminated in the death of Jesus. Christians believe that his death and subsequent resurrection have allowed men and women to be united with God for all time. But at a terrible cost to Jesus.
The images are created by Jenny Hawke (Creativegrace.co.uk) and used by kind permission. They are not to be copied or downloaded. You can buy prints or cards of the paintings and a souvenir One Friday book at cpo.org.uk/onefriday.
What the Bible says about it
An extract from the Bible:
Jesus, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.
Where to find it:
About these words:
This is almost certainly from a hymn written in the years after Jesus’ death. The tune is lost, but the words were preserved because Paul quoted them in a letter to a church in Philippi.
And they said…
Rob Bell, US Christian leader and writer:
Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, ‘God, you don’t know what it’s like! You don’t understand! You have no idea what I’m going through. You don’t have a clue how much this hurts.’ The cross is God’s way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments. The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, ‘Me too.’
Mel Gibson, actor and director:
When you look at the reasons why Christ came, why he was crucified – he died for all mankind, he suffered for all mankind … It’s time to get back to a basic message. He forgave as he was tortured and killed.
Bono, musician, U2:
When I look at the cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my shit and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: who is this man? And was he who he said he was, or was he just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.