Matthew 26:47 – 27:10

Take a moment to be still and to pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ before reading the scriptures. If you are in the company of others, invite someone to read the text aloud.

If you are gathering with your family, invite someone to read this reflection aloud.

There is nothing, for all time, that can separate us from the love of God.

Once a year, Yom Kippur would roll round; a day of atonement in which the tribes of Israel would gather to deal with their sin, shame, and guilt. The high priest would enter the tabernacle or the temple with two unblemished goats. He would lay his hand on the first goat, speaking over it the wrongdoing of all people before releasing it out into the wilderness, taking blame further and further away from the people. This took place before the ceremonial slaying of the second goat, who by its death received the punishment on behalf of the nation. In the moments following the yearly sacrifice, the priest would pass through the curtain of the temple to enter into the Holy of Holies, sprinkling the blood on its altar. As the ritual took place, a song resounded from the people:

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
Psalm 32:1

Year after year, a priest would enter the temple to make a sacrifice. But this repetitive ritual was only a teaser for what was to come at the centrepoint of human history. For, as Hebrews puts it:

“[Jesus] has appeared once and for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Hebrews 9:26

At just the right moment, the anticipated High Priest and the true Temple became the perfect sacrifice. Good Friday is the true and better Day of Atonement – through the once and for all crucifixion of God himself, we have received eternal redemption. With a body broken and blood poured out, we can be sure that there is nothing, for all time, that can separate us from the love of God. That is good news; good news that invites us into a gospel-shaped ease.

The high priest of Israel would often pray a blessing over the nation: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Number 6:24-26). As Glenn Packiam would say, because of the cross, “every word of that blessing is now true for all who belong to Jesus. It is no longer a petition but a proclamation.” Because of the gracious sacrifice of Jesus, we have received the peace, the shalom of Jesus. In the Hebrew imagination, shalom speaks of wholeness, of becoming complete. With Christ’s cry of “It is finished,” we no longer need to add to the perfect sacrifice. We only need to rest in its completeness.

We are whole, we are blessed, we are beloved.

Or, as Brennan Manning would say,

“The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creations. Not to make people with better morals, but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friends, is what it really means to be a Christian. Our religion never begins with what we do for God. It always starts with what God has done for us, the great and wondrous things that God dreamed of and achieved for us in Christ Jesus.”

May you this Easter come to taste and see once again that you are blessed for Jesus gazes upon you in love and sets us at peace.

Depending on which time of day you are practicing this office, you can use the morning or evening prayer. All to pray the following words aloud.

How long the road you came for us, Lord.
Your love has no limits.

You picked up the weight of the cross,
The weight of our sins.
We were your burden,
But that burden is sweet to you,
Because of the love you also bear for us,
An overwhelming love.
Your love has no limits.

Lord, I know you forgive me.
Your love has no limits.
Your love has no limits.

If you are gathering with your family, wait a moment and listen for the voice of God. Prayerfully share any words, pictures, encouragements or scriptures with each other by the laying on of hands.

Whether you are by yourself, or in the company of others, take time to pray for others that the Holy Spirit brings to mind, blessing them in His name.

Close your time by singing or saying aloud the Doxology.

“Fight back the dark with doxology. Doxology can detox the day.”

Ann Voskamp

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, you heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Amen and Amen.


Blessed Broken Given by Glenn Packiam
The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning