Holy Wednesday Reflection: Covenant Redemption of the Whole Man

Holy Wednesday

This Wednesday before Easter, we find ourselves in the midst of Holy Week, anticipating Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Holy Week prepares us for the great day of resurrection: Easter Sunday. 

Insofar as we are doing Morning Prayer together, we are all offered a great reminder in the Second Lesson for today: Hebrews 9:16-28.

Recap of the Second Lesson

To recap, the lesson is about the beauty of Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice. 

It first begins by stating that death brings about the power of a will or enacts a covenant. Whereas the first covenant in the Old Testament was initiated with the blood of animals, the second was initiated with the permanent sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

Christ’s sacrifice is different in this sense and stated perfectly thus: “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (Heb. 9:24). 

In other words, in Christ, we enter into that which the temple and, so, the holy of holies, signified, namely, the presence of God. Christ’s sacrifice does not simply allow entrance into a material temple but the spiritual and heavenly bliss of the presence of God the Father. We do not enter a temple made of human hands, but we enter into heaven itself in Christ. 

However, this does not denigrate the material since Christ came to redeem the material. Those who put the lectionary together were onto something.

Resurrection Accomplishment

In light of Holy Week, how does this truth prepare our hearts to make much of Christ’s resurrection? 

That Christ’s sacrifice has been accomplished and accepted by virtue of the resurrection (Rom. 1:4)  means the benefits of his covenant are dispensed to and for his people. Christ’s death enacts the covenant; His resurrection authenticates, vindicates, and sheds light on our future benefits therein.

For now, we relish in God’s presence spiritually. Because we are weighed down by sinful flesh, both physically and spiritually, we long for the resurrection of our bodies. Awaiting the day when we’ll stand in the presence of God in a perfect body is a true reality for everyone who hopes in Him.

Because of sin, we are forced to suffer from diseased bodies, mental illness, and disordered passions. That which swells up from us is far from ideal. 

Yet there is hope: 

“Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things” (Phil. 3:20-21).

In the Nicene Creed, it states that Christ “sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty,” doing so in His resurrected body. Because Christ’s body was wholly raised, so will our whole bodies be raised. They will be without the blemish or stain of sin. St. Paul’s cry of “who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24) has an answer! Christ is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20), and as firstfruits, we follow Him, assured of a future reality we altogether long for.


God’s covenant brings His people, both spiritually and physically, to Himself in Christ, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. God became man to redeem our whole being!

Therefore, may we understand God’s beautiful act of holistic mercy. It is a covenant-enacting resurrection that accomplishes redemption not in part but as a whole. 

And because of this, may we offer up to him our whole selves: mind, body, and soul!

Prayers appropriate for this lesson:

1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 (NKJV)

23Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

The Collect of the Day

ASSIST us mercifully with thy help, O Lord God of our salvation; that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts, whereby thou hast given unto us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Related Articles:

A body in heaven? by Gavin Ortlund

Embracing Embodiment: Baptism and the Nuptial Meaning of the Body by Alastair Roberts

Who Raised Jesus From the Dead?: The Trinity and the Resurrection by Brandon D. Smith

Am I A Soul Or A Body? by Joshua R. Farris

J. Bartolo Cruz

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