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Sermon Central Staff
DOES YOUR GOD BLEED?
A little boy went up to a missionary Sunday School leader in a pagan country. The boy said, "I like what you say about the God of the Bible but I canít see him. But if I go to the temple I can see my God."
The missionary said to the little boy, "Listen, does your God bleed?"
The boy said, "I donít know."
The missionary gave him a pin and said, "Next time you go to the temple, when no one else is watching, prick him and see what happens."
The following week the boy returned to his Sunday School class. He said to the missionary, "I did it, I did it, I pricked the idol."
The missionary said, "And what happened?"
The boy replied, "Nothing, my god doesnít bleed."
Straight away the missionary said, "But my God did! He bled for me and he bled for you!"
(From a sermon by Gordon Curley, Glorifying God, 1/23/2011)
A CHAMPION BLOOD DONOR
Joe Kerkofsky is America's blood-donor champion. The American Association of Blood Banks will honor the 62-year-old retired security guard at a special presentation in Chicago.
Mr. Kerkofsky lost an arm in an accident when he was six. He was thence rejected for military service in World War II. Since then he has donated nearly 31 gallons of blood. The human body contains 10 or 12 pints of blood. Joe has donated more than 20 times that amount.
"Giving blood makes you feel like contributing life itself," he says. "There's no more precious a gift than life. Money can't buy the joy of giving blood to help someone who needs it."
(Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations)
Sermon Central Staff
CHEAP PURCHASE--HIGH PRICE
In Decision magazine some time ago, Karen Morerod wrote about shopping in a store for a sweater. She was looking for one at minimal cost, so she went to the clearance rack. As she flipped through the sweaters, one caught her eye. It was the right color and the right size, and best of all, the price tag was marked $8.00. Without much more thought, Karen made her purchase.
At home she slipped on the sweater. Its texture was like silk. She had made her purchase so quickly that she hadnít noticed how smooth and elegant the sweater was. Then she saw the original price tag: $124.00!
Karen writes, "I gasped. I had never owned any clothing of that value. I had come home with what I thought was a 'cheap buy,' but the original price was quite high. I had been oblivious to its value."
Then Karen concludes her article with these words: "Just as with my sweater, I have often treated the power of Jesusí blood like a 'cheap purchase.' [Godís] grace, though free to me, carried a high price tag Ė the life of his very own Son."
My friends, when we realize the price God paid to set us free from a wasted life, we canít help but want to live lives worthy of such love.
(Karen R. Morerod, "Lesson Learned from a Sweater," Decision, November 1999, p. 39. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, The Holiness of Grace, 4/29/2011)
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Jesus saw what was coming by way of the cross...Jesus saw the beating of the Roman whip with the metal attached to the ends that would rip the skin from the victims back.
Beaten beyond recognition and could barely see to carry an old wooden cross to die on.
That night before: He saw that same blood that would run down His arm and drip off his elbow as the nails were driven into His hands.
That night before: He saw that same blood dripping off His toes and down to the foot of the cross as nails were driving into His feet.
The night before: He saw that same blood as a crown of thorns was placed on His head and that same blood ran down His forehead onto His eyebrows and down onto His eyelashes and into His eyes and blared His vision.
The blood might have blared His human vision but, Jesus was God in the flesh.
The night before: He saw that blood as salvation to who so eve...
STAIN REMOVAL: HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES
Father Greg Boyle is in the business of erasing the past. A Jesuit priest, he is the founder and director of Homeboy Industries in East Los Angeles.
Father Boyle put together a team of physicians trained in the laser technology of tattoo removal. The team is part of a program that takes the tattoos of ex-gang members and wipes the slate clean.
For many, it is as crucial a service as it is merciful. Gang-related tattoos prevent many former gang members from getting jobs or advancing in work. For others, the markings critically impinge on mental health or put them in serious danger on the streets.
There is no fee or community service required to receive the tattoo removal offered by Homeboy Industries. It is strictly a gift--perhaps a modern look at Christ washing the feet of his friends. At one time, there was a waiting list of over a thousand names. For those involved, the spiritual imagery is often compelling. The seeming permanence of a gang tattoo fosters the attitude that the gang's claim is also permanent. It is a mark of ownership as much as identity. The emotional consequence is that it seems a part of you that can never be shaken.
Like former gang members who have had the marks of a former life removed, so our sins are blotted out by the blood of Christ. They are remembered no longer.
(Jill Carattini, "A Slice of Infinity," No. 1186, rzim.org 6-23-06.)
J. P. MORGAN'S WILL
When Mr. J. P. Morgan, the American financier, the multimillionaire, died some years ago, it was found that the year before his death, he had made his will. It consisted of about 10,000 words and contained thirty-seven articles.
He made many transactions--some affecting such large sums of money as to disturb the financial equilibrium of the world--yet there was one transaction that evidently stood out in Mr. Morgan's mind as of supreme importance:
"I commit my soul in the hands of my Saviour, full of confidence that, having redeemed me and washed me with His most precious Blood, He will present me faultless before the throne of my Heavenly Father.
"I entreat my children to maintain and defend, at all hazard and at any cost of personal sacrifice, the blessed doctrine of complete Atonement of sins through the Blood of Jesus Christ once offered, and through that alone."
W Pat Cunningham
Christ assumed a true body of our nature. And because it is the special feature of friendship to live together with friends, He promises us His bodily presence as a reward... Yet meanwhile in our pilgrimage He does not deprive us of His bodily presence but unites us with Himself in this sacrament through the truth of His body and blood...Hence this sacrament is the sign of supreme charity [love], and the uplifter of our hope, from such familiar union of Christ with us.
--St. Thomas Aquinas
"Bad blood" is an English phrase referring to enmity between two (or more) people or groups. This is a reference to the breaking of military covenants.
Not too long ago in the 19th century leeches were enjoying a golden age. Millions were raised for medical use as their fame as a cure-all ensued. The mid 1800s saw their constant use for local bloodletting. Druggists administered thousands of leeches to patients with anything from gumboils to facial discolouration. For over 4000 years, the leech has been a familiar remedy, with Greek and Roman physicians praising the application of this clever invertebrate. Leeches would extract blood from the patient and only in recent days this form of medicine was practically discontinued. The idea was to extract "bad blood" so that the body could regenerate. These "bloodsuckers" can be extremely efficient in restoring blood circulation. After medicine abandoned these methods just a few decades ago now there is new interest in leeches and some surgeons are starting to use them again in hospitals. Old wisdom has some advantages...
When we reject God there is "bad blood" between God and us. Yes he may help you and even protect you but He has not an obligation to do so. God is love and He is merciful. However,...
THE BLOOD AND WATER
Before I became a minister I attended a secular college for a couple of years. While I was there I took several classes I thought would help me when I went to Bible college, and some of those classes were in Philosophy.
Now Philosophy and Christianity are somewhat at odds. Christianity exalts Christ, Philosophy tends to exalt man. Thus, teachers of Philosophy tend to spend a fair amount of their time undermining the faith of their students whenever possible.
In one class the professor said: "Jesus didn't die on the cross... and I can prove it!"
He then went on to set up his premise: "When a person dies," he said, "their heart stops pumping and gravity takes over. If you were to die right now, seated at your desks, your blood would drain to the lowest part of your body -- and settle somewhere around your waist. But the Bible says that when Jesus died, a Roman soldier pierced his side with a spear ... and blood and water came out. Jesus was supposedly dead. He was nailed to a cross. And yet when He 'died' there was blood where there shouldn't have been blood. That proves He hadn't died."
That shook me. I went back to my dorm and had a little talk with God. I said to Him "This sounds pretty convincing. If you can't answer it, I'm gonna go sell insurance. I can't justify spending my life preaching about a God I can't defend against accusations like this one."
Now, that was fairly rude of me. But God was gracious.
I don't know why, but I didn't go to a preacher, or to a campus minister to ask for them to explain this to me. I guess I just waited to see what God would do. And I didn't have to wait very long.
About a month or so later, I was in another philosophy class. The class was over and a few students were gathered around the teacher's desk. Wandering what they were talking about, I made my way into the group in time to hear the teacher say: "I just heard the most intriguing thing this last weekend. Do you remember where the Bible says that Jesus died on the cross?"
That peaked my interest.
He continued "Do you remember where it said that a Roman soldier pierced His side and blood and water came out"
Now, he really had my interest.
"There's a condition known as cardiac tamponade. It happens when a person undergoes enough stress in their life that their heart literally bursts from the strain. When this happens, the blood from the heart mixes with the fluid in the sac that surrounds the heart known as the pericardium. That fluid looks a lot like water. So -- if you were to pierce that sac after person died of cardiac tamponade, what you'd see come out would be 'blood and water.'"
Now that made sense for a couple of reasons:
1) If I cut your arm, you'd bleed. But you wouldn't bleed blood and water. Only blood.
2) The Bible says that when Jesus was on the cross... all of the sins of mankind were brought to bear on His body in that one place, in that one time. The only thing that held that body up under the strain was the power of Son of God. But when Jesus died, He didn't die from the cross itself. Scripture says: "Jesus called out with a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.' When he had said this, he breathed his last." Luke 23:46
Thus, when Jesus gave up control over His body, it was like a snapping a rubber band. All the sins of mankind bore down now on a body that was no longer held by His power, and it makes sense that its heart burst.
I went back and explained that to my original Philosophy professor, and he hemmed and hawed, but had no real comeback for that. I doubt that he'd ever heard anything like it before.
I was excited. This was great stuff!
So when I went to Bible College the next year, I was determined to share this gem of knowledge with the professors there. But... there's a reason why Bible college professors are professors. They've heard most of this before.
So when I mentioned this discovery to one of my professors, he replied "Oh Jeff, it's even better than that! When Jesus died on the cross, He was placed on the cross at 9:00 in the morning, and He died at 3:00 in the afternoon. At the Temple, the first sacrifice was made at 9:00 in the morning... and the last sacrifice was offered at 3:00 in the afternoon.
"Now, Passover was a major day of sacrifice. People were lined up around the block to offer their lambs and other sacrifices to God. With all that sacrificing, there was a lot of blood on the altar, the floors and the utensils. How do you think they removed all that blood?
"Well, they'd developed a technique where they would pump water up from underneath the Temple and they used this water to wash down the altar, the utensils and the floor. This liquid then was carried by trenches out beneath the city walls into the Kidron Valley (the Kidron Brook ran between the city of Jerusalem and the Garden of Gethsemane).
People that have visited the Holy Land tell me that the banks of the Kidron are still red from all the blood from the many sacrifices over the centuries. Farmers would go to the Kidron and collect mud from its banks to spread on their fields -- it was a rich fertilizer for their crops.
"Now, if you'd been standing outside the walls of Jerusalem about 3:30 in the afternoon... what do you think you'd have seen coming out of those pipes? (Blood and water)."
Now, if I'd been God, there'd have been more than 21 chapters in the book of John. If I'd been God there'd have been at least another 10 chapters talking about all the applications of that one verse.
But John didn't care. He didn't care! His comment about seeing blood and water come out of the side of Jesus wasn't all that important to him. All John wanted to prove was that there had been no need to break Jesus' bones. Why? Because Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb. John knew that that kind of lamb would be unacceptable to God if it's bones were broken. So, John says "I KNOW Jesus was dead! I SAW the Roman soldier pierce His side, and blood and water came out."
THE SHEPHERD'S BLOOD
In 1972, a shepherd had brought his sheep into a walled-off, enclosed area for the night, and he had just gone to sleep when he heard a commotion. He quickly rushed over to where the sound was coming from and to his horror he discovered that a wolf was in the process of dragging off one of his sheep through a hole in the wall. He was mauling this sheep and blood was flying.
The shepherd quickly began hitting the wolf, and the wolf turned on him and began attacking him. He bit him over and over while the shepherd was striking him with his staff, and finally with one final blow of his staff, he killed the wolf as he himself collapsed into a bloody heap.
He managed to crawl over to the half-dead sheep and began to bandage its wounds. He gave it some water, and then took it in his own bloody arms, and shepherd and sheep went to sleep together. ...