Summary: This is a dramatic Service based upon some of the “Stations of the Cross.” Partially adapted from a Service originally developed by Richard J. & Charlene E. Fairchild, Version 2. (A large PowerPoint file is available - #400.)



THE WAY OF THE CROSS - An Easter Season - "Good Friday" Service

(The PowerPoints used with this presentation are available at no charge by emailing me at and requesting #400. Because these are photos this is a large file.)

(The original concept and some of the wording were adapted from a longer and more detailed dramatic presentation developed by Richard J. & Charlene E. Fairchild. Version 2, 2001-2004 of their presentation can be found on various websites.)

(The photographs used in the presentation came from slide programs available from Sweet Publishing/ at which they will permit you to use as long as you make no charge for their use. They are a good source for Christian pictures!)


INTRO: The service tonight is based upon what is popularly called the “Stations of the Cross.” The story behind the development of the “Stations of the Cross” goes back to the Middle Ages when common people had almost no access to a Bible. And the few Bibles that were available were hand-copied manuscripts carefully guarded in churches & monasteries.

Most people had very little knowledge of the Bible other than what they were told by their priests. And most of that was simply church rules, practices & doctrines. Actual Bible knowledge was primarily passed on by storytellers, or in what came to be known as ”Passion plays” – dramatic presentations of various Bible stories often acted out by street players, much like the “Punch & Judy” presentations of later years.

It was during this time that the Franciscan monks sought to teach the people about the suffering of Jesus by dramatically portraying the events of His betrayal, trials, & crucifixion. The portrayals or paintings of these events came to be known as “Steps” or “Stations” on the way to His crucifixion.

Tonight, instead of paintings or enactments we will display Powerpoint pictures on the video screens. As each picture is being shown _________________ will explain what is happening & what message that picture is seeking to impart.

Then I will seek to present some thoughts concerning what the Centurion who was carrying out the command to crucify Jesus might have been feeling or thinking as the events of that day occurred. Let’s pray.

STATION 1: Jesus is Condemned to Death by Pilate (Show PowerPoint of Caiaphas, the High Priest)

NARRATOR: It is early in the morning. After a night of illegal trials according to Jewish law, the Sanhedrin has finally fashioned trumped-up charges of treason & sedition against Jesus and He is taken by Caiaphas, the High Priest, to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate.

(Show PowerPoint of Pilate on the Judgment seat)

When Pilate questions Jesus & realizes that he has done nothing wrong, he attempts to release him. But the chief priests respond angrily & begin to stir up the crowd that had come with them. Then Pilate is told that Jesus is from Galilee, so he tries to avoid any further responsibility by sending Jesus to Herod Agrippa, who rules over Galilee.

(Show PowerPoint of King Agrippa questioning Jesus)

This is the same King Agrippa who imprisoned & beheaded John the Baptist. Agrippa tries to get Jesus to perform some miracle in his presence, but Jesus refuses even to speak to him. So Agrippa mocks him & sends him back to Pilate.

(Show PowerPoint of Pilate standing)

Again Pilate tries to release Jesus, even giving the crowd a choice between freeing Jesus or the notorious criminal Barabbas. But the crowd, stirred up by the Chief Priests, cries to release Barabbas & crucify Jesus. Finally, Pilate attempts to wash his hands of the whole matter & orders the crucifixion of Jesus.

CENTURION: What hypocrites! What hypocrites they ALL are. The chief priests, religious leaders, holy men! And they want Jesus dead. Just look at their faces.

And King Agrippa – trying to look so regal, so royal. He wanted Jesus to perform a magic trick for him. And when Jesus wouldn’t do it, he showed his real character – cruel, sadistic, mocking. I think Agrippa really enjoyed sending Jesus back to Pilate. Let Pilate handle this situation, if he dares.

And Pilate! Poor Pilate – I think he wanted to set Jesus free, but those priests really knew how to manipulate him. “Shall I crucify your King?” he asked, & they answered, “We have no King but Caesar.” And when Pilate appealed to the crowd they shouted "Crucify him! Crucify him!" And their cries still ring in my ears!

"Were You There?"

Were you there when they judged the Son of God?

Were you there when they judged the Son of God?

Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they judged the Son of God?

STATION 2: Jesus Carries His Cross (Show PowerPoint of Jesus carrying the Cross)

NARRATOR: Under orders from the Governor, Roman soldiers take Jesus & begin to abuse him again. Very carefully they make a crown with long, sharp thorns & push it down upon his head. Then they thrust a heavy crosspiece into his arms & order him to carry it to the site of His execution - Golgotha - the Place of the Skull. There he is to be crucified along with two other men.

CENTURION: There he goes now, carrying his cross. My soldiers seem to be enjoying the opportunity to take out their frustration, their hatred of the Jews upon this "King of the Jews." They have beaten him, mocked him, slapped him, & whipped him with a whip embedded with little jagged bits of metal. On parts of his body the skin has almost been torn to shreds & he is covered with blood.

It's a horrible sight - He is bent over trying to carry that crosspiece; bleeding - even his footprints are bloody now. I wonder how the crowd is feeling about all this? Some of them were enthusiastically crying "Crucify him" a little while ago. But now, as he is passing by, some are suddenly turning away.

Maybe just now they're beginning to realize the terribleness of what they have done. Or maybe they just don't have the stomach to watch what really happens when someone is crucified. Well, whether they like it or not, it's going to happen. And it is my job to see that everything that has been ordered is done.

"Were You There?"

Were you there when he took the Cross for you?

Were you there when he took the Cross for you?

Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when he took the Cross for you?

STATION 3: Jesus Falls (Show PowerPoint of Jesus lying on the road)

NARRATOR: The cross is heavy & the road to Golgotha - the place of the skull, the place of crucifixion - is long. Jesus is weary from lack of sleep. He has had nothing to eat or drink since the evening before. The confrontations, the beatings, the scourging, the mockery - they have all taken their toll.

Amidst all the noise of weeping & heckling going on around him, Jesus suddenly stumbles & falls into the dust & grime of this crowded street. He struggles to get up. But the soldiers quickly grab him & drag him to his feet again.

CENTURION: This is almost too much. How much more will he have to endure? The laughter in the crowd as he tries to struggle to his feet is awful. How can they laugh? Can't they see he's trying? Don't they feel any pity for him?

I should talk - no, better that I don't. My patience is wearing thin. I long to get this over with & go home. All this is proving to be much harder on me than I would have ever guessed it would be.

Well, at least I can go home. This poor creature, this Jesus won't. He'll die - & from the looks of him - it may be sooner than we think. For his sake I hope that it is.

"Let Us Break Bread Together"

He has fallen to the ground, on his knees,

He has fallen to the ground, on his knees,

When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,

Oh, Lord, have mercy on me.

STATION 4: Simon of Cyrene Carries the Cross for Jesus (Show PowerPoint of Soldier grabbing Simon of Cyrene)

NARRATOR: Jesus is faltering under the load. He has already fallen once, & had to have help to get up. The soldiers fear that he might even die along the way. So they look around & seize Simon of Cyrene. They put the crosspiece on his shoulders & make him help carry the load.

CENTURION: It was the only thing to do. A perfect stranger, coming into the city, just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. One of my men grabbed him & forced him to help carry the cross. Was he reluctant to do that? I imagine so, but he had to do what we ordered.

By that time I was beginning to have some strange feelings about Jesus. I was actually wanting to do something to help him, but I was afraid. I was relieved when the guards picked someone out of the crowd to help. But inwardly I was ashamed that I could not bring myself to step out of character, to forget my position, & help him.

"Take Up Thy Cross and Follow Me"

"Take up thy cross and follow Me,"

I hear the blessed Savior call;

How can I make a lesser sacrifice,

When Jesus gave His all?

STATION 5: Jesus is Stripped of His Robe (Show PowerPoint of Young Woman weeping)

NARRATOR: Finally the procession arrives at Golgotha, at the place where Jesus & the other two are to be crucified. Hurriedly, roughly, the soldiers peel his blood-soaked robe off of him. Yes, the crowd is there – some maybe to mourn, but many more have come out of curiosity. If he really is who some of his followers are saying that he is – well, they wanted to be there to see what would happen.

CENTURION: Yes, we stripped him. When my men took his bloody robe off of him you could hear gasps of horror & an increase of murmuring in the crowd. And that is exactly what we Romans want to happen. You see, the whole purpose of crucifixion is much more than just the execution of a criminal. It is an object lesson, a bloody dramatic warning never to oppose our authority & our power.

And that is what is really bothering me now. This prisoner, Jesus… In the last few hours I have heard a lot of accusations against him. But none of them are serious enough to require a crucifixion. He has not been stirring up the people against Rome. In fact, from what I have heard, he is not that kind of person at all. So why have we been ordered to crucify him?

Well, as a good soldier, I obey orders. I'll do what I have to do. But I don't have to like it. And I think that someone has made a terrible mistake today!

"Were You There?"

Were you there when they took away his robe?

Were you there when they took away his robe?

Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Where you there when they took away his robe?

STATION 6: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross (Show PowerPoint of Jesus on the Cross)

NARRATOR: Roughly, contemptuously, the soldiers thrust Jesus down onto his cross. Holding him down - they pound the nails through his hands & feet. Then, after he is lifted up, the soldiers throw dice for his clothing to fulfill the scripture, "They divided my clothes among themselves, & for my clothing they cast lots."

CENTURION: The ring of the hammer on the nails, the sickening sound of flesh & bone crunching echo in my brain. I'll never ever forget this. Somehow this crucifixion is affecting me differently than any of the others I've been to. And look at some of the people who are standing around. They are making fun of him. They actually seem to be enjoying themselves, watching him die. Why? What did he do that was so wrong?

Well, at least my soldiers haven't been a part of that. His death on the cross isn't bothering them. But for some reason their total indifference & the heartlessness with which they busied themselves throwing dice beneath his feet is really bothering me just now.

"Lamb of Glory"

Hear the story from God's Word that kings & priests & prophets heard;

There would be a sacrifice & blood would flow to pay sin's price.

Precious Lamb of glory, Love's most wondrous story.

Heart of God's redemption of man; Worship the Lamb of glory.

STATION 7: Jesus Dies on the Cross (Show PowerPoint of head of Jesus in death)

NARRATOR: The nightmare of pain & suffering, the agony of betrayal & loneliness finally comes to an end. After six long hours on the cross, suspended between earth & sky, Jesus says, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." And then almost choking on the hyssop dipped in wine he gasps out his last words, "It is finished." He bows his head & gives up his spirit.

CENTURION: Well, the gambling didn't last long. So I was watching Jesus when he died. It had grown unnaturally dark & the earth was shaken during those last 3 hours. But I had seen enough - more than enough.

I saw what the sign said they nailed above his head. I heard what some of the people said as they yelled at & mocked him. And I heard the words he spoke - the prayer he uttered to God asking Him to forgive us for what we were doing. I heard what he said to the thief on the cross next to him. And I also heard how tenderly he spoke to his mother & his friend beside her. I heard his words & I saw his agony.

Indeed, I was there when he breathed his last breath - & I felt my spear dig into his flesh - the spear I thrust into him to make sure he was dead. And I saw & felt the blood & water pour out down his side, down my spear, & to the ground.

Violence & death. I hung my head. I could no longer see for the tears that flowed down my face. And I could not stop the words that came to my lips as unbidden as the tears - "Surely he was the Son of God!" Oh, why did I have a hand in this? What could I have done?

"Lamb of Glory"

On the cross God loved the world while all the powers of hell were hurled;

No one there could understand the One they saw was Christ the Lamb.

Precious Lamb of glory, Love's most wondrous story.

Heart of God's redemption of man; Worship the Lamb of glory.

STATION 8: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross (Show PowerPoint of body being carried away)

NARRATOR: Jesus is dead. His body hangs limply, heavily. The darkness which had filled the sky since noon begins to fade. It has been rumored that the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The soldiers yank out the nails to get him down.

Everyone, including the women who had followed him & were looking on from a distance, stands back awkwardly, & watches the scene before them. His broken & lifeless body, limp & heavy - is placed before his mother.

CENTURION: How did she feel? Mary, the mother of Jesus, how did she feel? With infinite tenderness, she gently held him & wiped his bloodied brow as her tears fell upon him. How did she feel? Oh why did I have a hand in this? How could I have I let it happen?

"Were You There?'

Were you there when they took him from the cross?

Were you there when they took him from the cross?

Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Where you there when they took him from the cross?

STATION 9: The Burial of Jesus (Show PowerPoint of Tomb entrance)

NARRATOR: Relatives & friends carry his body to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man who was also a disciple of Jesus. They lay his body, wrapped in a clean linen cloth, in the new tomb which has been carved out of the hill & then they roll a boulder across the entrance & silently withdraw.

CENTURION The place where they laid the body to rest was in a garden. The garden seemed strangely silent & still as I stole into it to watch them. My mind & my body were in shock. Images registered on my brain but I no longer felt anything. It was over. This Jesus, this one that I for some reason had called "the son of God," had died.

I knew my life would never be the same - but what it would be I could not say. All I knew was that he was gone. Gone. And I did not know him - & I did not help him. I went away & wept bitterly.

"Were You There?"

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?