This is a paraphrased version of the High School Youth Group (art, worship, learning, response) experience on April 1, 2012. Scriptures are from Matthew 26-28 (MSG)


I wonder. Do you wonder?

On the first of the Days of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare your Passover meal?”

He said, “Enter the city. Go up to a certain man and say, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near. I and my disciples plan to celebrate the Passover meal at your house.'” The disciples followed Jesus’ instructions to the letter, and prepared the Passover meal.
After sunset, he and the Twelve were sitting around the table. During the meal, he said, “I have something hard but important to say to you: One of you is going to hand me over to the conspirators.” They were stunned, and then began to ask, one after another, “It isn’t me, is it, Master?”
Jesus answered, “The one who hands me over is someone I eat with daily, one who passes me food at the table.
Then Judas, already turned traitor, said, “It isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?”
Jesus said, “Don’t play games with me, Judas.”

I wonder how Jesus felt to know that his friend Judas was going to betray him…
I wonder. Do you wonder?

I wonder what the disciples where thinking when Jesus said that the cup was his blood and bread his body. Did they think he was crazy?

Then Jesus told them, “Before the night’s over, you’re going to fall to pieces because of what happens to me. There is a Scripture that says, I’ll strike the shepherd; helter-skelter the sheep will be scattered. But after I am raised up, I, your Shepherd, will go ahead of you, leading the way to Galilee.”

Peter broke in, “Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won’t.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Jesus said. “This very night, before the rooster crows up the dawn, you will deny me three times.”

Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray. This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep.

He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, I’m ready. Do it your way.”

he came back. found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open.

I wonder how Jesus’ body was able to shed tears of blood bc of the immense stress…
I wonder what it felt like to not even have his closest friends to comfort him..when he needed them the most…

Judas showed up with the gang from the high priests and religious leaders brandishing swords and clubs. The betrayer had worked out a sign with them: “The one I kiss, that’s the one—seize him.” He went straight to Jesus, greeted him, “How are you, Rabbi?” and kissed him.

Jesus said, “Friend, why this charade?”

Then they came on him—grabbed him and roughed him up.

Then all the disciples cut and ran.

I wonder…would I have been able to respond as calmly as Jesus when the guards came…
I wonder…am I like the disciples…running away when I feel insecure…


The gang that had seized Jesus led him before Caiaphas the Chief Priest, where the religion scholars and leaders had assembled. Peter followed at a safe distance until they got to the Chief Priest’s courtyard. Then he slipped in and mingled with the servants, watching to see how things would turn out. The high priests, conspiring with the Jewish Council, tried to cook up charges against Jesus in order to sentence him to death. But even though many stepped up, making up one false accusation after another, nothing was believable.

Finally two men came forward with this: “He said, ‘I can tear down this Temple of God and after three days rebuild it.'”

The Chief Priest stood up and said, “What do you have to say to the accusation?”
Jesus kept silent.

Then the Chief Priest said, “I command you by the authority of the living God to say if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

“You yourself said it. And that’s not all. Soon you’ll see it for yourself: The Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Mighty One, Arriving on the clouds of heaven.”

At that, the Chief Priest lost his temper, ripping his robes, yelling, “He blasphemed! Why do we need witnesses to accuse him? You all heard him blaspheme! Are you going to stand for such blasphemy?” “Death! That seals his death sentence.”
Then they were spitting in his face and banging him around. They jeered as they slapped him: “Prophesy, Messiah: Who hit you that time?”

-blindfolded him, hit him, and told him to prophecy…mockery -used the flat of their palm to hit him (take a moment to feel the flat of your palm against your temple)

I wonder what it would have been like to get hit, to know who hit you, and not hit back

Peter’s denial happened three times.

And the rooster crowed.

Have you ever had a good friend who talked you down to other people? How did it feel? How did you respond? I wonder…how did Jesus feel to have his best friend deny him…

In the first light of dawn, all the high priests and religious leaders met and put the finishing touches on their plot to kill Jesus. Then they tied him up and paraded him to Pilate, the governor.

Then Pilate pardoned Barabbas. But he had Jesus whipped, and then handed over for crucifixion.

The soldiers assigned to the governor took Jesus into the governor’s palace and got the entire brigade together for some fun. They stripped him and dressed him in a red toga. They plaited a crown from branches of a thornbush and set it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand for a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mocking reverence: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” they said. “Bravo!” Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick. When they had had their fun, they took off the toga and put his own clothes back on him.

-pilot had jesus flogged with a mild flogging to satisfy his enemies first -crown of thorns -shoved it into his head with stick -bowed down to “worship him” -struck him with flat of hand -second flogging: verberatio -most horible, 39 times. Why? -made of bone, glass shards, scrap model, rocks -many died from this experience -beat him on the head again and again

Then they proceeded out to the crucifixion.

Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call “Skull Hill,” they offered him a mild painkiller (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when he tasted it he wouldn’t drink it.

Have you ever drank something nasty when your thirsty…like lemon juice…it doesn’t really satisfy

After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for his clothes. Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.

Jesus was likely stipped naked…complete humility. Skull hill was also in sight of the city so all could see who the criminal was. –cross- seat to rest on, knees bent….prolong -stand up to exhale, very painful -die of suffication and pain -on cross for six hours

The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—he can’t save himself! King of Israel, is he? Then let him get down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then! He was so sure of God—well, let him rescue his ‘Son’ now—if he wants him! He did claim to be God’s Son, didn’t he?” Even the two criminals crucified next to him joined in the mockery.

From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.

At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

I wonder. Do you wonder…


Why are you free?

  • Why did a good man have such an unfortunate death?
  • Why did he choose to be abandoned by his friends, to be mocked, and be beaten down?
  • If he was really God, then why did he not save himself?

This is the intersection of a story and our faith. Does God really love us so much, that he sent his Son Jesus to us to live a perfect life and then die on our behalf?

We either can think of it has a historical event. Or we believe that this story changes everything about our story if we choose to believe.

Romans 10:9-10, say, If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.


Leader: Jesus Christ chose to suffer and conquer suffering. He set you free.

Response: I am free indeed.