Places of the Passion

                  A Series of Services for the Season of Lent

      Pilate’s Judgment Hall


Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 

Matthew 27:22

Invocation and Call to Worship

P  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

C  And also with you.


P  Let us ever walk with Jesus.

C  To see the depths of his love.


P  To behold the gift of his forgiveness.

C  To gaze upon the heights of his grace.


P  To marvel at the magnitude of his mercy.

C  We walk with Jesus to Pilate’s judgment hall.


P  To hear about Jewish leaders, a prisoner named Barabbas and even Pilate’s wife.

C  It all boils down to three words—innocent, guilty and free.


P  Faithful Lord, with me abide.

C  I shall follow where you guide!


Confession and Forgiveness

P  Forgiving God, though I don’t like to admit it, I am a sinner, much like Barabbas—

C  A rebel and a wretch.


P  Born dead in transgressions and sins.

C  Lost and without hope.


P  Doomed to perish.

C  Blinded by the god of this age.


P  My finest deeds are still soiled with sin.

C  And all my righteous acts are like unclean rags.


P  I am Barabbas.

C  Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!


(Please silently reflect on the fact that though our sin is great, Christ’s love is greater.)


P  Hear the good news! Jesus walked to places of rejection, suffering, torment and death—for you. Jesus was determined to go to Gethsemane, Gabbatha and Golgotha—for you. That’s why Jesus forgives you completely and loves you eternally. Faithful Lord, with me abide!

C  I shall follow where you guide!


Prayer of the Day

P  Lord God, you set Israel free from the chains of Egyptian bondage and you set Barabbas free from Roman execution; so set us free from every prison that shackles and binds us; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, one God, now and forever.   C  Amen.


Old Testament Reading … Exodus 14:22–29

L   And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

 Word of God, word of life.   C  Thanks be to God!


Epistle Reading … Romans 6:1–11

L  What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

 Word of God, word of life.   C Thanks be to God!


Gospel Reading … Matthew 27:11–23

P  Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!””

 Word of god, word of life.  C  Thanks be to God!



P  Onward in Christ’s footsteps treading, pilgrims here, our home above, full of faith and hope and love. Let us do our God’s bidding. And so we pray. Dear Lord Jesus, you’ve freed us from the delusion of trying to earn and maintain a relationship with you; from the anxiety of wondering what you think about us; from the chains of condemnation and from fear of death. That’s why we rejoice to say, “If the Son sets you free.”

C  You will be free, indeed!


P  Dear Lord Jesus, only your mercy and grace can help us see, receive and trust our Gospel freedoms. Send us your Word and Spirit so that we live by the truth, “If the Son sets you free.”

C  You will be free, indeed!


 P  Dear Lord Jesus, free us from being arrogant, aggravated and annoyed with people. Turn our angry reactions into slower and kinder responses. Help us use fewer words and listen more. Send us your Word and Spirit so that we share this truth with the world, “If the Son sets you free.”

C  You will be free, indeed!

P  Dear Lord Jesus, unshackle the chains of our lingering doubts and insecurities. Empower us to throw off the grave-clothes of shame and feelings of failure. Heal our wounds and free us from bitterness. Send us your Word and Spirit so that we reflect this truth, “If the Son sets you free.”

C  You will be free, indeed!

 P  Dear Lord Jesus, free us for larger hearts toward the lost, more mercy for doubters and lavish love for all people. May our spouses feel cherished and appreciated, our children secure and our loved ones treasured and valued.

C  Jesus, let me faithful be, life eternal grant to me. Amen.


Lord’s Prayer

Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us:


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.



P  Jesus invites us to walk with him to Pilate’s judgment hall, a place of great suffering and a place of great love. We will walk with Jesus all the way to the empty tomb—and resurrection victory.

C  Let us ever walk with Jesus!


By Reed Lessing. © 2021 Creative Communications for the Parish, a division of Bayard, Inc., 1564 Fencorp Drive, Fenton, MO 63026. 800-325-9414. All rights reserved