Holy Saturday


The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb (and a detail),
Hans Holbein the Younger, between 1521 and 1522, Kunstmuseum Basel

Psalm 6

Domine, ne in furore

O LORD, rebuke me not in thine indignation : neither chasten me in thy displeasure.
2. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak : O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed.
3. My soul also is sore troubled : but, Lord, how long wilt thou punish me?
4. Turn thee, O Lord, and deliver my soul : O save me for thy mercy’s sake.
5. For in death no man remembereth thee : and who will give thee thanks in the pit?
6. I am weary of my groaning; every night wash I my bed : and water my couch with my tears.
7. My beauty is gone for very trouble : and worn away because of all mine enemies.
8. Away from me, all ye that work vanity : for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.
9. The Lord hath heard my petition : the Lord will receive my prayer.
10. All mine enemies shall be confounded, and sore vexed : they shall be turned back, and put to shame suddenly.

Psalm 16

Conserva me, Domine

PRESERVE me, O God : for in thee have I put my trust.
2. O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord : Thou art my God, my goods are nothing unto thee.
3. All my delight is upon the saints, that are in the earth : and upon such as excel in virtue.
4. But they that run after another god : shall have great trouble.
5. Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer : neither make mention of their names within my lips.
6. The Lord himself is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup : thou shalt maintain my lot.
7. The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground : yea, I have a goodly heritage.
8. I will thank the Lord for giving me warning : my reins also chasten me in the night-season.
9. I have set God always before me : for he is on my right hand, therefore I shall not fall.
10. Wherefore my heart was glad, and my glory rejoiced : my flesh also shall rest in hope.
11. For why? thou shalt not leave my soul in hell : neither shalt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.
12. Thou shalt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is the fulness of joy : and at thy right hand there is pleasure for evermore.

Matthew 27:62-66

62 NOW the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

The Sunday next before Easter

(This reading has been moved to Holy Saturday as this site has readings for Palm Sunday, but not Passion Sunday on the Sunday next before Easter.)

“The Example of the Cross”
A Devotional Exposition of the Teaching of
the Christian Year, by Melville Scott.
HAVING learned on Passion Sunday the doctrine of the Cross as the sacrifice for sin and the ground of justification, we are now to regard its moral teaching as the example of godly life and the ideal of our sanctification. We are to learn to bear the Cross which bore our sins. As we draw nearer to Good Friday we are taught to concentrate our thoughts on the Person of the Divine Sufferer rather than on His redeeming work. This is both natural and right.

The physical sufferings of our Lord are the outward and visible sign of something yet more wonderful, and the torn body reveals to us the holy mind. That mind is to be ours, especially in its unspeakable humility. Ours by nature it is not; ours by grace it yet may be, if we learn its beauty as God sees it and the Spirit shows it.

A. Christ’s Humility on the Throne.

Before His Incarnation Christ was in “the form of God,” possessing, that is, the very estate of Godhead, to which He refers as “the glory which He had with the Father before the world was” (S. John xvii. 5).

This inconceivable glory He was ready to sacrifice at the bidding of the higher call of Love, which is the very property of the Godhead.

“He regarded it not as a thing of price to be on an equality with God.”

We are, therefore, to trace back the humility of Christ to all eternity. It was not something assumed at His Incarnation, but was itself the cause of the Incarnation, for He was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. xiii. 8).

B. The Humility of the Incarnation.

This eternal submission to the law of Love was manifested in time. He “emptied Himself” (A.V., made Himself of no reputation) of His glory that He might manifest His goodness to men. He was more than a theophany or manifestation of God to men, for He manifested God in man, “being made in the likeness of men.”

Yet more, He took the lowest estate among men, for He “took the form of a slave.”

Some see only in this that Christ took our relation to God, becoming a slave that the slaves might become sons (cf. Gal. iv. 4), but even more may be meant, viz., that He became a slave among men as not only a servant, but a servant of the servants of God, though still “our Lord and Master” (cf. S. John xiii. 14).

Much controversy has taken place about the extent of the Kenosis (or self-emptying), but the fact is beyond human knowledge, and we regard S. Paul as simply using the clearest and homeliest words to convey what is beyond our conception, as in 2 Cor. viii. 9, “Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor.” It is enough to say that our Lord chose to appear as naked Love, and win men’s loyalty by the glory of love and by that alone. If the phrase can be pardoned, our King came incognito that He might be received by acclamation rather than proclamation.

C. The Humility of the Cross.

Sharing our nature and all the outward circumstances, trials, and temptations of human life (“being found in fashion as a man”), and, also, living a life of obedience to His heavenly Father, He yet further voluntarily “humbled Himself,” and His obedience stood the last and final test of death. Having lived as man, He died as man, but not the common death of all men, but the shameful and cruel death of the Cross, reserved for slaves and malefactors.

D. The Exaltation of Humility.

Christ’s exaltation was grounded upon His humiliation, and His mediatorial crown was the reward of His Cross. This fact is for ever enshrined in the name of Jesus or Saviour. This name, His human name, the token of His Humility and of His Passion, is to be His name for ever. God has granted Him to bear (“given Him”) this name at His right hand (cf. Acts vii. 55, 56). Worship had been His as the Son of God, but from thenceforward He should receive worship as the Son of Man, and “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,” etc. (cf. Acts ii. 36). “God hath made Him both Lord and Christ, even this Jesus whom ye crucified.” This worship should be even for “the glory of God the Father,” for as it is to the glory of a King to be recognized as kingly when he no longer wears his crown, so it is to the honour of God that Christ should have left the throne of Heaven and won an empire in human hearts. God’s highest glory is not His power, but the power of His love.

The mind of Christ has been our study in the Epistle; the acts of Christ are before us in the Gospel. Our Church desires us to take pattern from both of these: we are to learn humility from His mind; patience, which is the outward manifestation of humility, from His actions.

A. Patience with Judas.

Our Lord was “contented to be betrayed” by one of His own disciples, as recorded in the previous chapter, once part of this Gospel. Wonderful was His patience with Judas, his warnings, His tenderness, the absence of rebuke. This patience at last conquered, and Judas repented himself, cast down the price of treachery, confessed the innocence of his Master, and ended his wretched life. May we see to it that the long-suffering of Christ should lead us to repentance before it is too late.

B. Patience before Pilate.

Our Lord “answered Him to never a word.” He maintained a dignified silence except when truth demanded words. False accusers brought their many false accusations against Him, but it was as if He heard them not. We are to be thus patient, that we may earn the final beatitude: “Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you…and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.”

C. Patience under Condemnation.

Our Lord was patient when a robber and a murderer was preferred by the people to Himself, and when falsely condemned for blasphemy and treason, the highest offences against the powers of heaven and the powers of earth. We are to be patient when others are preferred before us, when we are reproached for doing what we have not done, or saying what we have not said. If indignation seems only human, silence is divine.

D. Patience under Mockery.

Every action showed the intensity of contempt. It is wonderful that Christ should have suffered for men, yet more wonderful what He suffered from men. His shame pours scorn on our pride. Shall we play the king with a straw for our sceptre, the rags of sin for our robe, the briars of pride for our crown? Shall we not be content to bear shame? Shall we take it hard if men deride our very questionable claims, when Christ, the King of kings, was dressed in mock regalia as a pretender?

E. Patience upon the Cross.

Patience under pain, refusing the cup of partial relief: under the abuse of the thieves, the cruel indifference of the passers-by, the bitter taunts of the priests, the felt desertion even of God. Such patience shames us as pain-bearers, but how much more as pain-bringers by our impatience, unkindness, indifference, or even hatred!

F. The Victory of Patience.

The last loud cry was not of agony, but of victory–“It is finished”; thus Christ endured to the end. Three tokens of victory at once followed.

(1) The conquest of sin–marked by the rending of the veil of sin-woven separation between God and man.

(2) The conquest of death–marked by the rending of the tombs which held the saints of God.

(3) The conquest of a heart. The centurion was conquered by the patience of the Divine Sufferer, and yielded to strength made perfect in weakness, becoming the first captive of the Cross.

A prayer that the Divine intention of the Passion may be realised in us.

A. Its Source.

This was the Father’s “love,” not His wrath; His “tender love,” no mere name, but a yearning affection; His universal love, for He loved “mankind,” the race. Nothing was needed to persuade God to love men, and the atonement was not the cause but the consequence of Love.

B. Its Intention.

That men might imitate the mind of Christ as declared in the Epistle.

C. Its Realisation.

We pray that we, imitating the humility of Christ, may both show this by imitation of His patience, as described in the Gospel, and share in His exaltation.

Good Friday


Crucifixion, Giovanni Donato da Montorfano,
1495, the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy
(opposite from The Last Supper)

Psalm 22

Deus, Deus meus

MY GOD, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me : and art so far from my health, and from the words of my complaint?
2. O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not : and in the night-season also I take no rest.
3. And thou continuest holy : O thou worship of Israel.
4. Our fathers hoped in thee : they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them.
5. They called upon thee, and were holpen : they put their trust in thee, and were not confounded.
6. But as for me, I am a worm, and no man : a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people.
7. All they that see me laugh me to scorn : they shoot our their lips, and shake their heads, saying,
8. He trusted in God, that he would deliver him : let him deliver him, if he will have him.
9. But thou art he that took me out of my mother’s womb : thou wast my hope, when I hanged yet upon my mother’s breasts.
10. I have been left unto thee ever since I was born : thou art my God, even from my mother’s womb.
11. O go not from me, for trouble is hard at hand : and there is none to help me.
12. Many oxen are come about me : fat bulls of Basan close me in on every side.
13. They gape upon me with their mouths : as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.
14. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint : my heart also in the midst of my body is even like melting wax.
15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my gums : and thou shalt bring me into the dust of death.
16. For many dogs are come about me : and the council of the wicked layeth siege against me.
17. They pierced my hands and my feet; I may tell all my bones : they stand staring and looking upon me.
18. They part my garments among them : and casts lots upon my vesture.
19. But be not thou far from me, O Lord : thou art my succour, haste thee to help me.
20. Deliver my soul from the sword : my darling from the power of the dog.
21. Save me from the lion’s mouth : thou hast heard me also from among the horns of the unicorns.
22. I will declare thy Name unto my brethren : in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23. O praise the Lord, ye that fear him : magnify him, all ye of the seed of Jacob, and fear him, all ye seed of Israel.
24. For he hath not despised, nor abhorred, the low estate of the poor : he hath not hid his face from him, but when he called unto him he heard him.
25. My praise is of thee in the great congregation : my vows will I perform in the sight of them that fear him.
26. The poor shall eat and be satisfied : they that seek after the Lord shall praise him; your heart shall live for ever.
27. All the ends of the world shall remember themselves, and be turned unto the Lord : and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.
28. For the kingdom is the Lord’s : and he is the Governor among the people.
29. All such as be fat upon earth : have eaten and worshipped.
30. All they that go down into the dust shall kneel before him : and no man hath quickened his own soul.
31. My seed shall serve him : they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation.
32. They shall come, and the heavens shall declare his righteousness : unto a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made.

Psalm 69

Salvum me fac

SAVE me, O God : for the waters are come in, even unto my soul.
2. I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is : I am come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me.
3. I am weary of crying; my throat is dry : my sight faileth me for waiting so long upon my God.
4. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head : they that are mine enemies, and would destroy me guiltless, are mighty.
5. I paid them the things that I never took : God, thou knowest my simpleness, and my faults are not hid from thee.
6. Let not them that trust in thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my cause : let not those that seek thee be confounded through me, O Lord God of Israel.
7. And why? for thy sake have I suffered reproof : shame hath covered my face.
8. I am become a stranger unto my brethren : even an alien unto my mother’s children.
9. For the zeal of thine house hath even eaten me : and the rebukes of them that rebuked thee are fallen upon me.
10. I wept, and chastened myself with fasting : and that was turned to my reproof.
11. I put on sackcloth also : and they jested upon me.
12. They that sit in the gate speak against me : and the drunkards make songs upon me.
13. But, Lord, I make my prayer unto thee : in an acceptable time.
14. Hear me, O God, in the multitude of thy mercy : even in the truth of thy salvation.
15. Take me out of the mire, that I sink not : O let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
16. Let not the water-flood drown me, neither let the deep swallow me up : and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
17. Hear me, O Lord, for thy loving-kindness is comfortable : turn thee unto me according to the multitude of thy mercies.
18. And hide not thy face from thy servant, for I am in trouble : O haste thee, and hear me.
19. Draw nigh unto my soul, and save it : O deliver me, because of mine enemies.
20. Thou hast known my reproof, my shame, and my dishonour : mine adversaries are all in thy sight.
21. Thy rebuke hath broken my heart; I am full of heaviness : I looked for some to have pity on me, but there was no man, neither found I any to comfort me.
22. They gave me gall to eat : and when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink.
23. Let their table be made a snare to take themselves withal : and let the things that should have been for their wealth be unto them an occasion of falling.
24. Let their eyes be blinded, that they see not : and ever bow thou down their backs.
25. Pour out thine indignation upon them : and let thy wrathful displeasure take hold of them.
26. Let their habitation be void : and no man to dwell in their tents.
27. For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten : and they talk how they may vex them whom thou hast wounded.
28. Let them fall from one wickedness to another : and not come into thy righteousness.
29. Let them be wiped out of the book of the living : and not be written among the righteous.
30. As for me, when I am poor and in heaviness : thy help, O God, shall lift me up.
31. I will praise the Name of God with a song : and magnify it with thanksgiving.
32. This also shall please the Lord : better than a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
33. The humble shall consider this, and be glad : seek ye after God, and your soul shall live.
34. For the Lord heareth the poor : and despiseth not his prisoners.
35. Let heaven and earth praise him : the sea, and all that moveth therein.
36. For God will save Sion, and build the cities of Judah : that men may dwell there, and have it in possession.
37. The posterity also of his servants shall inherit it : and they that love his Name shall dwell therein.

Mark 15

Listen to Mark 15 at BibleGateway (Opens a separate tab)

AND straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto them, Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing. And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.

Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. 11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? 13 And they cried out again, Crucify him. 14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. 15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

16 And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. 17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, 18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! 19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. 22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, The King Of The Jews27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. 37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.

42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

“The Sacrifice of the Cross”
from The Harmony of the Collects, Epistles and Gospels:
A Devotional Exposition of the Teaching of the Christian Year
by the Rev. Prebendary Melville Scott, D.D.,
Vicar of Castlechurch, Stafford.
SPCK, London, 1902.

THERE can be no doubt that our Church desires us to consider the Cross as the sacrifice for sin. With this the special Lessons of the day are also in harmony.

In this second passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews we are taught, as on Passion Sunday, the superiority of the Christian sacrifice to all the sacrifices by which it was prefigured. It is most fitting that on Good Friday we should thus consider the benefits of the Passion and its relation to human sin.

A. A Better Sacrifice.

The Jewish sacrifices, by their very repetition, confessed their inadequacy to cleanse the conscience from sin. They were also sacrifices of something external to man. He offered to God not his own life, but a life lower than his own.

In both respects we have a better sacrifice, for the offering of the body of Christ was so complete and final that it can never be offered again. The sacrifice Christ offered was that of a human body, and, therefore, better than the offering of the lives of bulls and goats. But more than this, He offered that which is the very essence of sacrifice–a surrendered will. His death was the completion of a life of sacrifice, His offered body was the outward expression of the inward offering of the will. In union with this will we have been sanctified, and His sacrifice has become available for us. Thus God has taken away the first sacrifices that He may establish the second and more perfect sacrifice. He has abolished the outward in order to bring in the inward sacrifice.

B. A Better Priesthood.

Christ is a better Priest than those of old, for their work was never done. Year by year they offered the same sacrifices for the same object. They were pathetically incapable of completing their task for all their diligence. Christ had but to offer a single sacrifice, and then to enjoy His eternal rest at the right hand of God, waiting His final victory. He had done all that was needed for the perfect acceptance of “all them that are being sanctified,” viz., of the whole body of the believing Church, who are seeking, receiving, and submitting to the power of sanctifying grace.

C. A Better Covenant.

A mediator implies a covenant, for he offers to God a pure life, which is, as it were, the medium through which God looks upon those whom He represents. Thus we turn to the Christian covenant. It is a covenant conferring two benefits. It is a covenant of sanctification, under which God engages to write His laws upon the heart; and a covenant of pardon. “Their sins…will I remember no more.”

In no sense is the Christian covenant one of mutual agreement, and, strictly speaking, there are no such things as terms or conditions of salvation, but only three great duties:–

(1) Faith in relation to God.

We are to draw near with faith. The way to God’s presence is open for us, and we may approach with boldness. It is not a way of dead ordinances, but a personal, living way. Christ is our way through the veil that hides God. It is a human way–“the way of His flesh.”

We translate verse 20–“A new and living way through the veil, namely, the way of His flesh”–a suggestion of the late Bishop Westcott in his Cambridge lectures.

(2) Hope in relation to ourselves.

Through the atonement we receive the assurance of personal forgiveness and sufficient grace.
Verst 23, as in R.V., “Confession of our hope.”

(3) Love in relation to others.

This love is to find expression in Christian activity, common worship, mutual encouragement and exhortation.

This is most prominently brought before us in the narrative of S. John.

A. The Sinless Sacrifice.

Christ came forth wearing the crown of thorns, which represents the sinner’s curse, and the cast-off robe, which represents the sinner’s shame, to receive the sentence of condemnation, but Pilate cannot condemn. Twice over he repeats the sentence of acquittal, “I find no fault in Him.” This was the verdict of the judge.

B. The Divine Sacrifice.

Christ’s claim to be this is attested by His accusers, and is echoed by Pilate’s fears and anxious question, “Whence art Thou?” He has said, “Behold the man,” but now he fears and almost believes that it would have been only truth to have said, “Behold your God.” As God Christ declares to Pilate the degree of his sin. Pilate’s doubt is the Christian’s certainty; his fear is our hope.

C. The Kingly Sacrifice.

Christ died as a king dies for his people. He was accused of making Himself a King. He was sentenced as a King. His accusation placed upon His Cross bore witness to His universal Kingship in the three great languages of the world. It was so written as to imply that it was true. Pilate was asked to change the title from fact to assertion, but he refused. What was written remained, and remains written.

D. The Prophetic Sacrifice.

This thought is ever present to S. John, who thrice records the fulfilment of prophecy in the Crucifixion, and in this case by four Roman soldiers who had never heard of it. The fact is recorded by the other evangelists, but here only with a minuteness of detail showing the importance attached to the correspondence with Ps. xxii. 18.

E. The Human Sacrifice.

Christ gave many proofs of His manhood, but none more touching than His love to His mother and His friend. Jesus, the Perfect God, was also Perfect Man, and it is an essential part of godliness to be human. His human body thirsted for water, and His heart for love. Christ’s atonement depends upon His Divinity and upon His Humanity equally.

F. The Finished Sacrifice.

This is the leading idea of the last section. Christ’s final cry was of satisfaction at the completed evidence of prophecy, the completed work of obedience, and the completed attainment of man’s salvation. The soldier’s spear was also not only the evidence of actual death, but of the benefits of that death as bringing cleansing and life to men (cf. notes on First Sunday after Easter).

The unbroken body was the final proof of the fulfilment in Christ of the sacrifice of the Passover, and of the special command–“a bone of Him shall not be broken.”

Thus the piercing of Christ fulfilled both the law and the prophets.



We plead the Sacrifice of Christ on behalf of:–
A. The Whole Church.

This is the family of God which has received the adoption of sons through the sacrifice of Christ and by virtue of the new covenant in Christ’s Blood.

B. Every Member of the Church.

We plead the sacrifice of Christ not only for the whole body, but for every degree, section, and member of it, that all the members may each perform their special vocations and ministries within the Church.

C. Those Outside the Church.

We plead for these by the love of God in Creation, and by His uncovenanted mercies, that they may be brought into the sphere of the covenant.

We pray for those in various degrees of error; the Jews and Turks, who worship God but not in Christ; the infidels or heathen, who worship Him not at all; the heretics, who worship Him amiss. We pray that all may be brought through repentance into the one fold..

Holy (Maundy) Thursday


The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci,
1490s, the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy

Psalm 116

Dilexi, quoniam

I AM well pleased : that the Lord hath heard the voice of my prayer;
2. That he hath inclined his ear unto me : therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
3. The snares of death compassed me round about : and the pains of hell gat hold upon me.
4. I shall find trouble and heaviness, and I will call upon the Name of the Lord : O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
5. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous : yea, our God is merciful.
6. The Lord preserveth the simple : I was in misery, and he helped me.
7. Turn again then unto thy rest, O my soul : for the Lord hath rewarded thee.
8. And why? thou hast delivered my soul from death : mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
9. I will walk before the Lord : in the land of the living.
10. I believed, and therefore will I speak; but I was sore troubled : I said in my haste, All men are liars.
11. What reward shall I give unto the Lord : for all the benefits that he hath done unto me?
12. I will receive the cup of salvation : and call upon the Name of the Lord.
13. I will pay my vows now in the presence of all his people : right dear in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
14. Behold, O Lord, how that I am thy servant : I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid; thou hast broken my bonds in sunder.
15. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving : and will call upon the Name of the Lord.
16. I will pay my vows unto the Lord, in the sight of all his people : in the courts of the Lord’s house, even in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord.

Psalm 41

Beatus qui intelligit

BLESSED is he that considereth the poor and needy : the Lord shall deliver him in the time of trouble.
2. The Lord preserve him, and keep him alive, that he may be blessed upon earth : and deliver not thou him into the will of his enemies.
3. The Lord comfort him, when he lieth sick upon his bed : make thou all his bed in his sickness.
4. I said, Lord, be merciful unto me : heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.
5. Mine enemies speak evil of me : When shall he die, and his name perish?
6. And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity : and his heart conceiveth falsehood within himself, and when he cometh forth he telleth it.
7. All mine enemies whisper together against me : even against me do they imagine this evil.
8. Let the sentence of guiltiness proceed against him : and now that he lieth, let him rise up no more.
9. Yea, even mine own familiar friend, whom I trusted : who did also eat of my bread, hath laid great wait for me.
10. But be thou merciful unto me, O Lord : raise thou me up again, and I shall reward them.
11. By this I know thou favourest me : that mine enemy doth not triumph against me.
12. And when I am in my health, thou upholdest me : and shalt set me before thy face for ever.
13. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel : world without end. Amen.

Mark 14:12-72

12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? 13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. 14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. 16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? 20 And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. 21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.

22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. 30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. 31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.

32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. 37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 39 And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 40 And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. 41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.

43 And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 50 And they all forsook him, and fled.

51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. 55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.


Holy (Spy) Wednesday


Judas being paid thirty pieces of silver, for the betrayal of Jesus,
16th century fresco painting on the vault in the Saint Sébastien Church,
in Planpinet, Clarée valley, Hautes alpes département, France.

Psalm 109

Deus, laudem

HOLD not thy tongue, O God of my praise : for the mouth of the ungodly, yea, the mouth of the deceitful is opened upon me.
2. And they have spoken against me with false tongues : they compassed me about also with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause.
3. For the love that I had unto them, lo, they take now my contrary part : but I give myself unto prayer.
4. Thus have they rewarded me evil for good : and hatred for my good will.
5. Set thou an ungodly man to be ruler over him : and let Satan stand at his right hand.
6. When sentence is given upon him, let him be condemned : and let his prayer be turned into sin.
7. Let his days be few : and let another take his office.
8. Let his children be fatherless : and his wife a widow.
9. Let his children be vagabonds, and beg their bread : let them seek it also out of desolate places.
10. Let the extortioner consume all that he hath : and let the stranger spoil his labour.
11. Let there be no man to pity him : nor to have compassion upon his fatherless children.
12. Let his posterity be destroyed : and in the next generation let his name be clean put out.
13. Let the wickedness of his fathers be had in remembrance in the sight of the Lord : and let not the sin of his mother be done away.
14. Let them alway be before the Lord : that he may root out the memorial of them from off the earth.
15. And that, because his mind was not to do good : but persecuted the poor helpless man, that he might slay him that was vexed at the heart.
16. His delight was in cursing, and it shall happen unto him : he loved not blessing, therefore shall it be far from him.
17. He clothed himself with cursing, like as with a raiment : and it shall come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.
18. Let it be unto him as the cloke that he hath upon him : and as the girdle that he is alway girded withal.
19. Let it thus happen from the Lord unto mine enemies : and to those that speak evil against my soul.
20. But deal thou with me, O Lord God, according unto thy Name : for sweet is thy mercy.
21. O deliver me, for I am helpless and poor : and my heart is wounded within me.
22. I go hence like the shadow that departeth : and am driven away as the grasshopper.
23. My knees are weak through fasting : my flesh is dried up for want of fatness.
24. I became also a reproach unto them : they that looked upon me shaked their heads.
25. Help me, O Lord my God : O save me according to thy mercy.
26. And they shall know, how that this is thy hand : and that thou, Lord, hast done it.
27. Though they curse, yet bless thou : and let them be confounded that rise up against me; but let thy servant rejoice.
28. Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame : and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a cloke.
29. As for me, I will give great thanks unto the Lord with my mouth : and praise him among the multitude.
30. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor : to save his soul from the unrighteous judges

Mark 14:1-11

AFTER two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.

And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.