I will start with the small volume entitled At the Cross: Meditations on People Who Were There written by Richard Bauckham and Trevor Hart. Illustrated by the woodcuts of Helen Firth, this little volume offers some wonderful meditations about those who receive mention alongside Jesus' journey to the cross. Here is a brief excerpt from the chapter on Peter:
"The cross shatters our illusions. It shatters our illusions about ourselves. It shatters our illusions about Jesus. It shatters our illusions about the world. Jesus, we discover, is not there to fulfill our aspirations, however fine they may be. Jesus does not conform to the world's aspirations, however attractive they may seem. Jesus does not confirm our self-made images of ourselves, the way we like to think of ourselves, the way we would like others to think of us. There is no smooth path to God which we can ascend with all our expectations of life confirmed and fulfilled. There is only the way of the cross, where the condemned and crucified Jesus contradicts our expectations, forces us to see ourselves as we really are, not as we would like to be seen, and reveals the world as a strange new landscape we had not seen before, a paradoxical game in which only losers can succeed."
Peter, the centurion at the cross, Barabbas, Simon of Cyrene, Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalen and others are featured, challenging us to a deepening of faith and a greater understanding of Jesus' journey to the cross. Prayers and contemporary reflections close each chapter. Published by IVPress in 1999, it still repays reading and rereading.