He who clothes himself with light as with a garment

Stood naked at the judgement.

On his cheek he received blows

From the hands which he had formed.

The lawless multitude nailed to the Cross

The Lord of glory.


Today is hanged upon the tree

He who hanged the earth in the midst of the waters.

A crown of thorns crowns him

Who is the king of the angels.

He is wrapped about with the purple of mockery

Who wraps the heaven in clouds.

—Orthodox hymn for Good Friday, tr. by George Papadeas, in Greek Orthodox Holy Week and Easter Services (Daytona Beach: Patmos, 2007), 322; quoted in Michael Reeves, Rejoicing in Christ (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2015), 59.


Let this be your first step,—go to Christ.  Do you want to consult friends?—He is the best friend: “a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).  Do you feel unworthy because of your sins?—Fear not: his blood cleanseth from all sin.  He says, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).  Do you feel weak, and unable to follow him?—Fear not: he will give you power to become sons of God.  He will give you the Holy Ghost to dwell in you, and seal you for his own; a new heart will he give you, and a new spirit will he put within you.  Are you troubled or beset with peculiar infirmities?—fear not: there is no evil spirit that Jesus cannot cast out,—there is no disease of soul that he cannot heal.  Do you feel doubts and fears?—Cast them aside: “Come unto me”, he says (Matt. 11:28); “him that cometh I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).  He knows well the heart of a young man.  He knows your trials and your temptations, your difficulties and your foes.  In the days of his flesh, he was like yourselves,—a young man at Nazareth.  He knows by experience a young man’s mind.  He can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities,—for he suffered himself, being tempted (Heb. 2:18, 4:15).  Surely, you will be without excuse if you turn away from such a Saviour and Friend as this.

—J.C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2015; reprinted from Ryle, The Upper Room, Hunt, 1888), p. 41-42.  Spelling and punctuation from the original.

There is now a man, a real man with our flesh and blood, our experiences of the world, our humanity, in heaven.  A man now sits next to God in perfect harmony.  And a man with a “human hand will grasp us as we make our way into heaven.  We shall be greeted by a face—the face of Jesus.”

—Michael Reeves, Rejoicing in Christ (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2015), 74.  Reeves quotes Gerrit Scott Dawson, Jesus Ascended (New York: T&T Clark, 2004), 7.

Because of the nature of our God, the Spirit doesn’t just bring us in Christ to the Father—he brings us together to him as the Father’s family.  Therefore we also pray together with Christ as brothers and sisters before our Father.

Communal prayer, then, is the Christian life in a nutshell—the family of the Father coming together to him to share his concerns.  This is why in some ways the prayer meeting is such a battle of flesh against Spirit: will you bludgeon your brothers and sisters with your impressive prayers and actually ignore God, or will you truly go to your Father and seek blessing for them?

—Michael Reeves, Enjoy Your Prayer Life (Leyland: 10Publishing, 2014), 40-41.  Emphasis in original.

‘In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans’ (Rom. 8:26).  That’s an enormously helpful verse if you’re interested in genuine communion with God.  The Spirit knows that we’re weak, that we struggle to pray and that we often don’t know what to pray—and his desire is to help us.  This means that we don’t need to pretend to be giants in prayer or make resolutions that are out of our league.  Since the Spirit knows our weakness, we can be real with our Father, accepting how babyish we are in our faith, and simply stammer out what’s on our hearts.  …Cry for help.  Don’t try to be impressive.

—Michael Reeves, Enjoy Your Prayer Life (Leyland: 10Publishing, 2014), 37.

While under Old Testament law the high priest would go into the presence of the Lord in the Holy of Holies on behalf of the rest of Israel, the Son takes us before his Father—and there the Spirit helps us.

—Michael Reeves, Enjoy Your Prayer Life (Leyland: 10Publishing, 2014), 27-28.  Emphasis in original.

To know you are a beloved child of God protects you from thinking of prayer as a ladder to God or an exercise by which you work your way into his favour.  Prayer doesn’t make you more accepted.  Instead, prayer is growing in appreciation of what you have been given.  It may be that your heart is cold, your love is weak and your prayers are shabby, but what matters is that, united to Christ and in him, you are a cherished son—and your Father delights to hear you.  Of course, with any other God we’d have to come in the strength of our own fervour; with this God we come in his.

—Michael Reeves, Enjoy Your Prayer Life (Leyland: 10Publishing, 2014), 26.  Emphasis in original.