August 25, 2019

Have you been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb?

Have you been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb?

Jesus’ final words were “It is finished.” He then bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. We learn from John’s gospel account what happened next – “Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced.’ After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.” (John 19: 31-42)

Jesus, the Lamb of God, willingly gave up His life for the sin of the world. John the Baptist stated when he saw Jesus – “’Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’” (John 1: 29b). Just like the Lamb of God slain at the Passover, Jesus’ bones were not broken. Exodus 12: 46 gives specific instruction that the bones of the sacrificial lamb were not to be broken. Under the Old Covenant, or Law of Moses, there was a continual requirement of the sacrifice of animals in order to cover sin. One of the purposes of the Old Covenant was to show men and women that there needed to be a price paid to appease God. There had to be a sacrifice made. The rituals of the Old Covenant were considered a “shadow” of what was to come. Jesus would be that final eternal sacrifice.

The letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament clarifies the transition between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The ordinances and the temple of the Old Covenant were only “types.” The high priest only entered the holy of holies of the temple one time per year, and only did so with a blood sacrifice which was offered for himself and the sins the people committed in ignorance (Hebrews 9: 7). At that time, the veil between God and man was still in place. Not until Jesus’ death, was the veil of the temple literally torn, and a new way for man to approach God created. It teaches in Hebrews – “the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience” (Hebrews 9: 8-9). Consider the miracle of what Jesus did as Lamb of God who was slain to take away the sin of the world – “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9: 11-12). Hebrews further teaches – “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9: 13-15).

Are you trusting in your “religion” to make yourself acceptable to God? Are you trying to merit heaven? Or do you not even acknowledge God’s existence. You may have created your own set of moral rules you try to live by. Have you ever really considered Jesus, and who He is? Could it be that God does love the world so much that He sent His Son to pay for your sins and my sins? The entire Bible testifies of Jesus. It reveals prophesies about His coming, His birth, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection. The Old Testament prophesies of Jesus and His coming, and the New Testament reveals evidence that He came and completed His mission.

Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with the Living God, the God who gave all of us life and breath. The truth is that we are helpless to rescue ourselves, to clean ourselves up, or to merit our own redemption. The full and complete price has been paid for our eternal redemption by what Jesus did. Will we acknowledge it? Both Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus recognized who Jesus was. From their actions, we see that they realized that Israel’s Passover Lamb had come. He had come to die. Will we recognize, as John the Baptist did, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world? What will we do today with this truth?

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