Before you begin, gather some bread and wine (or grape juice) for you and any others that might be participating with you. You will also want a journal and pen to write with. The following is a suggested outline meant to help you spend time reflecting on the day Jesus died. Feel free to pray in your own words or contemplate the Scripture passages in ways more suited to your natural methods of reflection. If you’re doing this with your family or roommates, read the prayers and Scriptures aloud and change “I” to “we.”
Jesus, this is a strange time and I’m feeling ___________. For the next few minutes, can I bring all of that to you? I want to be honest while I remember the sacrifice you made for me. I want you to have my full attention. I want to love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. Please help me be all-here with you, right now.
He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. ––Luke 22:41-46 NIV
Given the anguish Jesus was feeling in this moment, what do you want to say to him?
About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with [Jesus], for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. ––Luke 22:59-61 NIV
Consider the ways you’ve been in Peter’s shoes and done as he did. When Jesus looks at you, like he did Peter, what do you think he sees? What does he think?
Jesus, as I imagine you looking at me, I feel _________. I don’t deserve your friendship; I really don’t, but I’m so grateful for it. Thank you for loving me no matter how often I act like I don’t even know you. I don’t really understand what you see in me or how you continue to pursue me, but I’m grateful.
The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him. ––Luke 22:63-65
As you witness this scene, what are you feeling? What do you want to say to the guards?
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. ––Luke 23:35, 44-46
Imagine yourself standing there, watching Jesus die. He’s beaten, broken and bleeding. He’s struggling to breathe. All the while, you hear the people around you laugh and tease. What are you thinking? What are you saying? And as he takes his final breath, what do you feel?
Jesus, you didn’t deserve their mocking or their disgust. You didn’t deserve the brutality of the whip, the thorns or the cross. You didn’t deserve to die. Thinking about it makes me ________. To think that all of that was for me––to pay the price for my inner ugliness and sometimes outright wrong living––is too much for me to comprehend. I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.
Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! ––John 1:29
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance –– now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. ––Hebrews 9:13-15
Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you for offering yourself to cleanse my conscience. Thank you for making a way for me to serve you even though I’ve done wrong. Thank you for this new agreement between you and me. Thank you for paying the ransom so I could be free.
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” ––1 Corinthians 11:23-24
Eat the bread. Spend a moment in silence with God.
In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread or drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. ––1 Corinthians 11:25-26
Drink the wine or juice. Spend a moment in silence with God.
Jesus, I will not forget what you’ve done for me. I’ll live the rest of my days honoring your sacrifice on my behalf by loving others the way you love me. I will proclaim you by the way I think, speak and act each day. You are an amazing God; thank you for loving me the way you do. And I can’t wait to celebrate your resurrection in just a few days!
READ & LISTEN
I'm healed, made strong, oh, I've found where I belong
Forever I'm alive now in Your love
I've been changed, unchained, by Your amazing grace
Forever I'm alive now in Your love
On the other side of everything I'm afraid of
You are standing with Your arms wide open, wide open
Even in my deepest doubts and wonder
You are standing with your arms wide open, wide open
Yes, wide open
Listen to the song Wide Open.
Spend a few more minutes quietly enjoying God’s presence with you and his love for you. Consider adding a bit more to your journaling, describing what this experience has been like for you. What did you learn? What did you feel?
Remember… Sunday’s coming!