Daily Reading for April 1 • Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, 1872
Passion Week may tell us, indeed, that the mere sight of the Lamb of God, in His outward form, could not soften the hearts of Jewish priests or Roman soldiers. It may tell us, that the hearts of those, who saw Him hanging on the cross, were hardened by that spectacle, so that they cried, “He saved others, Himself He cannot save.” It may tell us, that the sop at the Paschal Feast, the last token of friendship and tenderness from the Master and Lord, hardened the heart of the son of perdition, so that Satan entered into him, and he went out a conscious traitor. It tells us, that even the eleven had their hearts hardened, so that, at the Last Supper, they were disputing which of them should be the greatest—so that they could not watch with Christ one hour during the agony—so that they all forsook Him and fled.
But it tells us of a Love, deeper than all this mockery, betrayal, desertion, of a Love, brought out through them, and by means of them. It tells us, that in the Agony and Death of Christ, the Will of the Son yielded itself absolutely, unreservedly, to the Will of the Father, and that the whole of that perfectly loving Will shone forth in the acts and sufferings of a man. It tells us, that with this Sacrifice God is well pleased, that this Sacrifice is an eternal bond between the Creator and creature, which sin, and death, and hell, cannot break. It tells us, that we may give up ourselves to God, and that His own Spirit, the Spirit by which Christ offered up Himself, will come down to consume the sacrifice. It tells us, that, whatever reluctance we may feel in ourselves, or see in our brethren, there is a mysterious power that can make us willing. It tells us, that, however hard our hearts may be, and whatever new hardness they may have contracted, from God’s own discipline and our refusal to understand it, the Divine Spirit of Grace and Discipline can subdue even all things to Himself.
From Sermons on the Old Testament by F.D. Maurice, quoted in The Communion Service from the Book of Common Prayer, With Select Readings from the Writings of the Rev. F. D. Maurice, M.A., edited by the Right Rev. John William Colenso, D.D. (London: Macmillan and Co., 1874).