Lesson Developed by
Jill Olds and Victoria Crooks
Crucifixion and the Roles People Play
Tips to Prepare
If you decide to use the first exercise and hold a vigil with your youth, reach out to them in advance and ask them to think about something that they’ve lost. Encourage them to bring a photo, an object that represents the loss, a candle or flower to your group meeting.
- Bibles or copies of the scripture
- A laptop or media device with the final scene from the movie, Pay It Forward (YouTube video)
Setting the Atmosphere
- f in person, set the room with chairs or around a table for a small group conversation
- Consider centering the space with a lit candle (unscented for those with sensitivities), or with a simple symbol, such as a cross
- Consider having a ball or stuffed animal to throw around the circle, for the person speaking to hold when it is their turn
- If virtually, schedule in your preferred video platform
21They 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. 22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
33When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34At 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?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36And 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.” 37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
40There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
42When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. 45When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46Then 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. 47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus saw where the body was laid.
- Begin with a check in with members
- Open with prayer
- Read the scripture together
Select the option that best suits your group’s needs:
Exercise Option 1: Vigil
- Host a vigil for your youth, recognizing something that you all may have lost. You may ask them to bring something to represent this loss, a picture or memory of a loved one, the collar of their pet, a candle or flower. This past year has brought extensive loss for us all, and we may not have the space to grieve and lament together.
- Say a prayer with your youth, reminding them that since we are in community together and with Christ, we are not alone. That we can come together to grieve. It can be individual grief, or something your community is grieving together.
- Be mindful of your youth and if they are in a place to be vulnerable and are ready to have these conversations together.
Exercise Option 2:
Watch together the final scene from the movie Pay It Forward where the community comes together to grieve (YouTube video)
Reflect together on the following questions:
- What does it mean that Mark describes incredible coincidences as he writes this story (darkness over the whole land, the curtain in the temple torn in two)? Does it ever feel like the world grieves (environmental justice)?
- What does it feel like when a whole community grieves together, as we see in the Pay it Forward clip? How is that similar/different from what we hear in the Bible story? (Draw parallels between the candle vigil in the movie and what we honor in Maundy Thursday/Good Friday services every year.)
- How is it also powerful that just a few of Jesus’ most faithful followers were present at his burial? Also note that it was mostly women (ie, people of lower class standing in society). Do you think that you would have been there, or would you have been in hiding (either answer is okay)?
- Close the lesson in prayer (either the leader or a group member)
- Or, consider utilizing a check-out exercise