Friday, May 28, 2021

In Praise of Our Great High Priest

(From Hebrews and John 17-19)

Lord Jesus,

We praise You today as our Great High Priest.

Unlike the Old Testament priests who offered the blood of bulls and goats and calves that could only cover, not take away, sin,

You offered Yourself—
both priest and sacrifice.

You are our merciful and faithful high priest
and our perfect Passover lamb.

You poured out Your own lifeblood on the cross
and declared, “It is finished.” Perfected. Completed.

You drank to the last drop the cup of wrath that we might drink the cup of blessing and redemption.

You bore our sins that we might wear Your righteousness.

You were forsaken, that those who trust You may never be.

On the third day You rose again, like the priests of old emerging from the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement, living proof that Your sacrifice was accepted and our debt paid in full.

For forty days You kept company with Your disciples, teaching them and revealing Yourself to them in all the Scriptures that had come before.

After that, You ascended in Your resurrection body
to the heavenly realms, where You sit now,
“at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high.” 

You are still our high priest,
interceding for us with grace, mercy, and sympathy,
having experienced for Yourself every sort of trial and temptation we face. 

You are our good and gentle High Priest.
Lord Jesus, we approach the throne of grace with bold assurance
because of Your priestly work on our behalf.
Give each one of us the mercy and help he or she needs.
Grant us grace to hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful.
Fill us today with fresh awe and wonder as we behold Your suffering
in this Your Word,
for Your glory, our good, and the growth of Your church. 


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Wings to fly into rest in You

"Lord Jesus, most loving spouse, 
who shall give me wings of perfect love,
    that I may fly up from worldly miseries and rest in you? 
Oh, when shall I ascend to you,
    and feel how sweet you are?
 When shall I gather myself to you so perfectly
    that I shall not, for your love, consider myself
       but only you, above myself and above all worldly things? 

"Come to me, I pray, in love. 
Often I mourn the miseries of this life
    and suffer them with sorrow.

"Troubles darken my thinking and hinder my thoughts,
    turning my mind from you,
    so I no longer desire you as I should,
    nor enjoy your sweet comforts,
    though they are always present for me. 
I beg you, Lord Jesus,
    may the sighs of my heart move you to hear me. 

"O Jesus, King of everlasting glory,
    the joy and comfort of all Christian people,
    who wander as pilgrims in the wilderness of this world, 
my heart cries to you in unspoken desires, 
and my silence speaks to you and says,

"'How long will you wait, my Lord God, to come to me?'
Come, O Lord, and visit me,
    for without you I have no true joy;
    without you my soul is heavy and sad. 

"I am in prison and bound with chains of sorrow,
    until you, O Lord, with your gracious presence,
    condescend to visit me,
       to bring me again liberty and joy,
          to show your gracious face to me. 

"Show the greatness of your goodness,
    and let your power be glorified in me;
    for I have no other hope or refuge
    except in you and you alone, my Lord and my God."

 Catherine Parr, final wife of Henry VIII (1512-1548)

Sunday, May 16, 2021


"Joy in God is never out of season, nay, it is in a special manner seasonable when we meet with losses and crosses in the world, that it may then appear that our hearts are not set upon these things, nor our happiness bound up in them." (Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible)

Like the magnolia, joy is evergreen (though not always adorned with blooms). Lord, show us Your glory afresh today. Refresh our parched leaves in this weary wilderness from the fountain of living waters that is Yourself. Set our hearts on heaven and the increasing knowledge of Your love even here. Grant us grace to choose joy by choosing to treasure You above all. When losses and crosses mark our days, make the sorrow a thin place where Your joy shines through all the brighter, so that the watching world may wonder at such astonishing grace and seek you for itself.

Friday, May 7, 2021

A Prayer for Approaching the Gospel of John

 Eternal, uncreated, never-changing God--

You revealed Yourself to Moses as YHWH, the I Am.

You have revealed Yourself throughout Your Word

    as the promise-keeping God,

    who gives life to the dead

        and calls into being things that are not, as though they were.

You have revealed Yourself most fully in the Word made flesh,

    Jesus the One and Only,

    without whom nothing was made that has been made.

He came and died as the Lamb of God

    and rose again on the third day as the Great Shepherd of the sheep.

He is the bread of life,

    the light of the world,

    the door of the sheep,

    the Good Shepherd,

    the resurrection and the life,

    the way, the truth, and the life,

    and the true vine.

Open the eyes of our hearts to behold Jesus in all His glory;

bow our knees to fall on our faces before Him in worship;

turn our stony hearts into tender hearts,

    that we might live as beloved disciples,

    that we might confess Christ boldly and openly,

    and that we might hope against hope in the promises not yet fulfilled.

We would see Jesus, and Him only. Transform us into His likeness as we behold Him in Your Book.

In Jesus we come. In Jesus we pray.