Summary: Part 12 of a series looking through the book of Hebrews to discover who Jesus is.
Jesus Is ...!
August 20, 2017
Right now I think it’s pretty obvious our world is in a world of hurt. Between the riots over the past week in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one and injuring others, a van running into a crowd in Barcelona and killing 13 people, another car running into people in Spain, killing one person, a stabbing in Finland – and the list goes on.
As we look at the world around us, we see total hate around us. We read we are to love our neighbors, who supposedly are our friends, but not only our neighbors.
Jesus tells us to do what we really don’t want to do.
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, – Matthew 5:44
We are to love and pray for our enemies. That’s not always easy to do . . . is it? Sin is rampant! What are we to do? And more than that, what does God think when people are off creating their own style of justice?
The Bible tells us we’re stained with sin. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 ~
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
That statement is true for all of us, nobody is exempt. We’ve all sinned and we’ve all fallen short of God’s glory. We can’t meet His standards. And we learn this about God and His purity, because Habakkuk 1:13 tells us ~
13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, – Habakkuk 1:13
In other words, God cannot look upon evil, because He is pure. He cannot tolerate wrong. Yet, at the very same time, the Bible tells us - - God loved us so much, He offered us a way to “wash away” our sins. A way to cleanse our souls so that we might be able to have a relationship with Him in which He can view us as righteous.
What’s unusual and kind of intriguing in this process - - - - is that God has chosen an interesting way to cleanse us. Look at Hebrews 9:22 ~
22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. – Hebrews 9:22
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness!! That’s a huge statement! Here in Hebrews, we find that the blood of Jesus is what purifies us. What is there about blood that would make it a “cleansing agent?” I think blood is one of the most difficult stains to get out of your clothes. Nobody wants to get someone else’s blood on them.
And if you think about it, how could the blood of another person remove the sin and dirt from our souls, especially when blood itself is a stain producing agent and can ruin many of the things it comes in contact with?
Think about the soaps we use . . . most are mild and we use them for dishes, showers, clothes, and more. But there are stains that are more difficult, which require stronger detergents and abrasives. Think about bleach and the more corrosive cleaning agents.
The stronger the cleanser, the more damage it will do to materials it wasn’t meant to clean.
And interestingly, the Bible tells us the most powerful cleansing agent in the world is blood. Remember that song . . . What can wash away my sins . . . nothing but the blood of Jesus. Is there a better cleansing agent in the world than that? We need our heart, soul, minds, and bodies cleansed. You can wash yourself over and over again. You can scrub until you are a bloody mess, but you still can’t reach into your inner being. You can’t touch your heart, your soul, your mind . . . except with the cleansing agent called Jesus, the Christ.
Remember, life is in the blood. In Leviticus 17:11, we read ~
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.
In other words, God intended for blood to take away our sins because life is in the blood. And if we don’t take sin away, if it is not removed and cleansed, then that sin will lead to death. It’s what Paul said in Romans 6:23 ~
23 for the wages of sin is death.
But God’s desire for you and I is to give us life! And since blood was identified with life, blood is the most natural substance for God to use. During the Passover, an innocent lamb was slaughtered and its blood smeared on the doorposts of the entrance of every Israelites home to remember when death “passed over” as the people were led out of Egypt.