Tag Archives: Blood

Singing with the King (101) – Accept No Substitutes

My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sun-baked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones.  My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing. (Psalm 22:14-18)

When you read those lines from Psalm 22, what do you see? If nothing comes to mind, let me give you another passage from the same Psalm: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Yes, those are the words of Jesus hanging on the cross. Now you can see how the above five verses describe the events surrounding the crucifixion. King David wrote these words about a 1000 years before Christ hung on the cross. You and I see it, but why didn’t the Old Testament scholars of the day (i.e. – Sadducees and Pharisees) see it? Well their authority was challenged, their way of life threatened, and they kinda got distracted.

I did a study a few years back on distractions. I talked about how life is filled with interruptions, and there’s nothing really we can do about that. The question was, do we let interruptions become distractions? Then do distractions become detours? Then do detours become dead ends? And by the time we get to a dead-end, it’s pretty tough to get out. And all along that downward-spiraling path, we miss what God is doing.

I don’t know who we can blame for these holiday distractions, but it’s really not so much about the blame as it is the effect. For instance, holiday used to really be holy day, as it was tied only to religious holy days, like Christmas and Easter. But then these distractions came along: Santa Claus, snowmen, reindeer, trees, lights, and presents. But Christmas—that holy day— is about the birth of Jesus, God becoming man. And more distractions came along: bunnies and eggs… and chocolate! What’s not to like about chocolate? But Easter— that holy day— is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

With all the marketing and media blitz focusing on these distractions, it’s tough to remember the truth behind these holy days.

But then there’s Good Friday. As far as I know, nobody has been able to come up with a substitute or a distraction for that. But it’s kinda tough to come up with a distraction for something that deals with death and dying, torture and blood and sacrifice. And then you got that whole sin thing. What kind of cute things can cover up stuff like that? You can’t. So the next best thing? You ignore it. But you can’t do that either, because even though most Christians would prefer to fast forward to the resurrection of Christ, you can’t have the resurrection without the crucifixion.

After Jesus had risen, he spent some time walking along the road to Emmaus with some disciples. And he asked the question: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26) It was necessary.

“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Heb 9:22)

Did Jesus Christ die for you? Are you forgiven? That’s what the crucifixion is all about. That’s what Good Friday is all about. There ARE no substitutes. Only…

He died for your sins.

Singing with the King (23) – Ends of the Earth

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. ( Psalm 98:3b)

You are Here

God could have done a quiet work of salvation, for He chose a small, even insignificant, people, in a remote part of the planet. They had many huge and notable empires nearby: Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, etc. But there was tiny Israel, always with another conqueror breezing through, and making them a (remote and inconsequential) part of an “intergalactic” empire. But one of the reasons God chose a small people was to ensure that they would never (try though they must) get the credit for their salvation. This was very much a God-thing, and could not be confused for anything else. So when All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God, they were seeing the salvation of our God.

Now the question needs to be asked: Why? If this was an “Israel only” to-do, why should all the earth see it.

Well, Israel may have been God’s Chosen people, but all earth’s peoples were made by Him—all had His image stamped upon them.

There were those who were aliens who would recognize that the God of Israel was indeed the Lord of all. In the context of this Psalm, it was because they had seen the salvation of our God.

The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. ( Leviticus 19:34)

So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:19)

God had spoken to Israel on many occasions, reminding them they were aliens; Perhaps the greatest thing about the New Covenant—all of us aliens can now draw close to the Lord God through the shed blood of Jesus.

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

After all, We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)