This 10-day series of devotionals is a great way to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter Sunday.

Devotional Overview

There’s a long-held spiritual practice called the Stations of the Cross that leads a person through each of the key moments in Jesus’ journey to the cross. It has its origins in medieval Europe when, due to conflict, pilgrimage to the holy lands wasn’t an option for Christians. Since physically visiting the sites of key events during Holy Week wasn’t possible, believers would use this practice to reflect and imagine themselves in the scenes. They would focus to feel the weight of what it means to be crucified with Christ.

Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” This is the call for every Christian – to crucify self and follow the way of Jesus, even to the cross. The only way to Christ’s life in us is through dying to ourselves.

This resource is a 10-day series of devotionals inspired by the idea of the Stations of the Cross that is a great way to prepare for Easter Sunday individually or with a group in the practice of dying to self. We encourage you to share it with your Communications team, staff, family or others. 

1. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

When God’s will doesn’t make sense.

Matthew 26:36-39
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Be With Christ
Have you had times in your life when God seems absent, like his will for your life and the world couldn’t actually be what you’re experiencing. Jesus felt this too. He is the son of God yet he’s staring down betrayal, humiliation, defamation and ultimately, crucifixion. He taught us to pray for God’s will to come, now he is putting it into practice. Jesus desperately wanted a different outcome but humbly chose to surrender to God’s will.

Where in your life are you struggling to see how God is working? How do you need to surrender to God’s will today?

Father, sometimes, it’s really hard to see where you are leading me or even that you are leading me. Help me to surrender to you. Not as I will, but as you will. I trust you.

2. Jesus is Condemned to Death

Experiencing injustice.

Matthew 27:22-26

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Be With Christ
There is nothing worse than being falsely accused of something when it’s not true of you. Jesus was sinless. He literally never wronged or hurt anybody; he was perfect in every way. Yet, he was accused of capital offenses and sentenced to death. He was despised and rejected by the very people he loved, served and came to save. Innocence was murdered. 

How have you experienced personal injustice? Maybe it was in the form of a false rumor spread about you. Or maybe you’ve experienced prejudice. Though not as severe as what Jesus experienced, it can be extremely painful, even infuriating!

Jesus, you taught us to turn the other cheek when we are wronged. This is not my natural inclination, and I need your help. Give me the strength to follow your example and repay evil with good. 

3. Peter Denies Knowing Jesus

When those closest to you let you down.

Luke 22:54-62
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Be With Christ
Jesus was at the absolute lowest point of his life. The Son of God on trial, falsely accused, publicly humiliated and disgraced – and all alone. If ever the solidarity of a close friend could have carried cathartic weight, it was now. Yet it’s in this space that Peter, one of his closest friends, denied even knowing him! Jesus surely felt abandoned, betrayed and deeply hurt in this moment. Jesus’ response: He forgave him, restored him and commissioned him to do the same (John 21).

When have you been let down and even betrayed by a friend? When have you been the one who betrayed a friend or even denied Jesus?

Jesus, I’m sorry for my propensity toward self-preservation and people-pleasing. Forgive me for when I’ve betrayed a friend and when I’ve even denied you. Show me where I need to extend forgiveness and pursue reconciliation.

4. Jesus Carries His Cross

Bearing burdens we never thought we’d carry.

John 19:16-17

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).

Be With Christ
Jesus knew the suffering that was on the horizon for his life. We don’t know how early he knew this. Yett when the time came, Jesus, in his full humanity, surely questioned if this was actually his lot in life – to suffer and die to save people who hated him when he lived a blameless life. Life has a way of heaping on burdens we could have never imagined carrying; and Jesus, carrying a cross meant for the worst sinners, was no stranger to this.

Is there a burden in your life you never expected to carry? Is it even unjust that you have to carry it?

Jesus, thank you for setting the example of how to faithfully embrace whatever burdens come in life. Give me your strength to persevere and your vision to see how God is using this for good.

5. Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

Disruption and invitation.

Luke 23:26
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.

Be With Christ
Simon of Cyrene was “on his way in from the country” doing ordinary things. He had no intention of participating in a Roman crucifixion, let alone the crucifixion of an innocent man. But there he was, stuck in the middle. This was a disruption he never expected. It was an invitation to draw near to the suffering Messiah.

How do you respond to unexpected disruptions in your life? Perhaps Jesus is inviting you to draw nearer when life’s circumstances become less predictable.

Lord, when life becomes unpredictable, I can be too quick to trust in myself. Help me draw near to you, the Prince of Peace, knowing you meet me where I am.

6. Jesus and the Weeping Women

Compassionate suffering.

Luke 23:27-31
27 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. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then “‘they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’”’ 31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Be With Christ
The people in the crowds as Jesus was on his way to the cross undoubtedly had a wide range of emotions and feelings about Jesus. Even in the midst of Jesus’ suffering, compassion and love were at the forefront as he comforted these women. When we suffer, it’s easy to get tunnel vision, not seeing those around us and becoming self-absorbed. The way of Jesus is that of a compassionate sufferer - using his pain to bring comfort to the world.

When you reflect on your life, where is your greatest source of pain? How might Jesus want to use your pain to help others experience the healing of Jesus?

Jesus, you make all things new. Show me how you want to use the pain in my life to join your mission to bring healing and restoration to the world. 

7. Jesus Stripped of His Clothes

Embracing humility.

Matthew 27:27-31
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Be With Christ
Place yourself in Jesus’ shoes – the Son of God falsely accused, publicly condemned and violently humiliated. He was stripped, beaten and mocked as an innocent man in front of his friends, family and enemies with all the power to make it stop, yet, as Isaiah 53 tells us, “he did not open his mouth.” He embraced the humiliation knowing that it was God’s plan to redeem the people that Jesus loved, and he rejected the human impulse toward pride and revenge.

What ways do you let ego and pride drive how you respond to people and situations? What is one way you need to embrace humility today?

Jesus, the way of humility goes against every instinct of my flesh. Fill me with your Spirit so I can embrace humility and follow the way of Jesus today.

8. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Purpose in pain.

Luke 23:33-34
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals — one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Be With Christ
It is hard to see beyond the immediate suffering we experience in life. Jesus was living this suffering in the most acute and severe way possible, yet, he had eyes of faith to see the purpose in the pain. In the moment where he is crucified for all to see, he clings to the purpose for which he is there – forgiveness. In the deepest pain, Jesus’ purpose is both articulated and displayed: “Father, forgive them.”

Is there something in your life that has caused you pain where it’s really hard to imagine there could be any redemptive purpose from it?

Lord, it’s hard to see how the pain in my life has any meaningful purpose. Please give me faith to trust that you have ordered my steps (Ps. 37:23) and that you have planned good things for me (Eph. 2:10).

9. Jesus is Mocked by the Criminal

Power restrained, mercy released.

Luke 23:39-43

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Be With Christ
If I were in Jesus’ shoes, every part of me would want to use the power at my disposal to unleash justified wrath and vengeance for the injustice taking place. Quite literally, Jesus could have saved himself, but instead, he chose to walk out his humble sacrifice. In place of unleashing his power that could execute godly justice, he chose to use his power to extend undeserved mercy to a deserving criminal on the cross and to all of humanity.

Who in your life has unjustly wronged you that you have not been able to forgive? How can you release them from the sinister power of guilt by extending merciful forgiveness?

Jesus, I feel wronged and that I have the right to carry this unforgiveness. Give me the strength to forgive and extend mercy in the same way you have done for me.

10. The Death of Jesus

God’s presence is brightest in darkest times.

Luke 23:44-46

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Be With Christ
Jesus breathed his last. The sinless Lamb of God was crucified for the sins of all the world. In every step along the way, Jesus was tortured, abandoned and mocked all while drawing others near and extending compassion. In his final breath, the same happened – the curtain tore in two. This curtain was the barricade set up to keep the fullness of God’s presence from his people, and now, in the darkest day in history, the presence of God has now been made available to every person who would come to Jesus. It’s in the darkest moments that God’s presence seems most real.

Are you weary? Overwhelmed? At the end of yourself? Jesus says, “Come to me and I will give you rest.” He is near to the brokenhearted. He is your shelter. He is your refuge.

Father, thank you for your presence that brings victorious light in the darkest times. Help me to remain with you, to return to you and to trust that you are with me. Show me your presence today.