Ancient Words: The Blood of the Lamb
Abraham is known for his amazing faith in God. God gives him a certain promise and then seemingly seems to break the promise by asking Abraham to sacrifice his young son, Isaac. In the very act of spilling the blood of his firstborn to death, God stays Abraham’s knife-held hand, and directs him to spill the blood of a young ram caught near-by in a thorn bush. The purpose of sheep in this developing nation will now continue through the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and his son Jacob. After 430 years of slavery in Egypt, the sheep herd of the Israelite people will grow to over 2.4 million sheep and lambs. Every clan or household has a lamb to fulfill the very first Passover night and final release from Egyptian bondage. On the 14th day of Nisan, the year-old male lambs, without defect, were killed and the blood of these lambs painted on the sides and tops of the doorframes of 600,000 homes to insure protection from the angel of death sent to kill every firstborn in the land (Exodus 12).
Now, Moses, with the same faith of father Abraham, leads this same nation by keeping the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel (Heb 11.28). By faith, he regards disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward (Heb 11.26). For 40 years in the desert, Moses has the nation remember annually the Passover thru the blood of the lambs on the 14th day of Nisan. God has sustained Israel in the desert with manna and water for life and through this provision the enormous sheep herd produces lambs every year in keeping with the Passover instructions for all 2.4 million people. In a sense, bread, water, and blood have been the sustaining life of this nation.
Jesus, the spotless Lamb, is slain on the 14th day of Nisan in 33 AD. From the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a lamb was born in the house of bread, Bethlehem. The Bread of Life is sacrificed; now blood and water flow when his side is pierced and the parable once spoken now becomes reality. The blood of the perfect man, without sin or guilt, with a faith greater than Abraham or Moses, runs crimson red down a rugged cross and on to the rocks of Golgotha’s hill. Since that day, disciples of this Lamb have lived as strangers here in reverent fear. For everyone needs to know that redemption and entry to the kingdom has been offered “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Pet 1.17-21). One Lamb, one loaf of Bread, and the blood of that Lamb is now sufficient for the entire human race, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed (1Cor 5.7).” Bread, Water, and Blood remain today as the source of life now and life eternal: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen” (Rev 1.5-6).
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day (John 6:53-56).”
(Scott and Jane Johnson minister with ast Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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The Old Violin
I recently heard a sermon illustration about an old worthless violin. According to the story an elderly man died, and his estate was up for sale. As the auctioneer brought forth each item there was a lot of bidding back and forth. It was a rather large estate and so the long tedious job of calling the bids and the hours long competitive shouting had taken quite the toll on him. Finally, it came down to one last item. The last item up for bid was an old worn out violin. The strings were dry, it was old and dusty and quite honestly it looked worthless. The auctioneer tried as he could to gather bids starting at ten dollars…five dollars, nothing. He allowed a man to try it out and when he did, the most horrendous shrieking sound came from it. This item was hopeless and would have to be a loss.
Just when everybody was about to leave, an old gentleman from the back of the room came forward and picked up the old violin. He inspected it closely. He pulled out his handkerchief and began to dust it off. He oiled the strings. He began to tighten the keys and tune the strings. He began to play. The whole room stopped. Jaws dropped and eyes began to swell with tears. The music that now flowed from this old violin was some of the most beautiful music that any in the room had ever heard. When he was finished playing the whole room erupted with applause.
“How did you do that? I mean, how did you know that it was capable of such fine quality music?” asked the auctioneer.
The gentleman replied, “I am a master violin maker. I know the value of craftmanship. This violin is one of the rarest in the world. It was created by Antonio Stradivari.”
All at once the bidding began again! What once wouldn’t go for a single dollar now went for thousands of dollars!
There are times when we all feel like that old violin. Put away, forgotten about undervalued and unappreciated. Those kinds of feelings really affect your self-esteem and self-worth. It can lead to depression, addictions and bitterness. I can honestly tell you that there have been many times in my life that I felt like giving up. Then the Master came forward and picked me up. He dusted me off. He began to reshape and remold me- fine tune me, if you will. He recognized my value, because He created me. In the Master’s Hands we go from ordinary to extra-ordinary.
If you haven’t placed yourself in the hands of the Master, I encourage you to do it today! Give yourself fully to Him. Find a Bible believing church and sit back and watch what God will do in and through you!
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Peace and Blessings,
(Captain Jason Perdieu is corps officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado.)