"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:14f
Verses From Vespers on Great and Holy Friday.
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it - Your will be done.” Matthew 26:42
The whole creation was changed by fear, when it saw Thee, O Christ, hanging on the Cross. The sun was darkened and the foundations of the earth were shaken; all things suffered with the Creator of all. Of Thine own will Thou hast endured this for our sakes: O Lord, glory to Thee.
Why does the impious and transgressing people imagine vain things? Why have they condemned to death the Life of all? O mighty wonder! The Creator of the world is delivered into the hands of lawless men, and He who loves mankind is raised upon the Cross, that He may free the prisoners in hell, who cry: O longsuffering Lord, glory to Thee. Today the most pure Virgin saw Thee hanging on the Cross, O Word; and with a mother’s love she wept and bitterly her heart was wounded. She groaned in anguish from the depth of her soul, and in her grief she struck her face and tore her hair. And, beating her breast, she cried lamenting: “Woe is me, my divine Child! Woe is me, Thou Light of the world! Why dost Thou vanish from my sight, O Lamb of God?” Then the hosts of angels were seized with trembling, and they said: “O Lord beyond our understanding, glory to Thee.” Seeing Thee hanging on the Cross, O Christ the Creator and God of all, bitterly Thy Virgin Mother cried: “O my Son, where is the beauty of Thy form? I cannot bear to look upon Thee crucified unjustly. Make haste, then, to arise, that I too may see Thy Resurrection on the third day from the dead.”
Today the Master of Creation stands before Pilate; today the Maker of all things is given up to the Cross, and of His own will He is led as a lamb to the slaughter. He who sent manna in the wilderness is transfixed with nails; His side is pierced, and a sponge with vinegar touches His lips. The Deliverer of the world is struck on the face, and the Creator of all is mocked by His own servants. How great is the Master’s love for mankind! For those who crucified Him, He prayed to His Father, saying: “Forgive them this sin, for in their wickedness they know not what they do.
See how the lawless synagogue has condemned to death the King of the Creation! They were not ashamed when He recalled His blessings, saying: “O My people, what have I done unto you? Have I not filled Judaea with miracles? Have I not raised the dead by My word alone?
Have I not healed every sickness and disease?
How then have ye repaid Me? Why have ye forgotten Me? In return for healing, ye have given Me blows; in return for life, ye are putting Me to death. Ye hang upon the Cross your Benefactor as an evildoer, your Lawgiver as a transgressor of the Law, the King of all as one condemned. “O longsuffering Lord, glory to Thee.
A dread and marvelous mystery we sec come to pass this day. He whom none may touch is seized; He who looses Adam from the curse is bound. He who tries the hearts and inner thoughts of man is unjustly brought to trial. He who closed the abyss is shut in prison. He before whom the powers of heaven stand with trembling, stands before Pilate; the Creator is struck by the hand of His creature. He who comes to judge the living and the dead is condemned to the Cross; the Destroyer of hell is enclosed in a tomb.
O Thou who dost endure all these things in Thy tender love, who hast saved all men from the curse, O longsuffering Lord, glory to Thee.