Archive for the ‘sacrifice’ Category

What do we hear or say when we read in the news how DNA evidence freed an innocent who was serving life in prison for a crime that he did not commit? We tend to wag an accusing finger at the justice system and remark of how such a tragedy and travesty should never happen if Lady Justice is really blind.  We start to speak of fairness.

Jesus was an innocent man who was slain for the sins of this world. Isaiah considered Him as a “man of sorrows,” while John the Baptist called Him the Lamb of God. He suffered and sacrifice for the sake of sinners.

But the question remains: Is it right that the innocent should take such cruel and harsh punishment while the guilty seem to get away with it?

Biblically speaking, it is still justice. Someone has to pay the debt. Someone has to supply the guilt or sin offering. It needs to be unblemished, too, by the way. In other words, it ought to be spotless and stainless. That was Jesus.

Jesus was perfection taking on our transgressions. Jesus was purity standing in the stead of our impurity. He was worthy of so much, but He stepped into humanity headed for Calvary to conquer the grave and death itself as He put sin in its place.

Is it right?

God saw it befitting to do so. John 3:16 is our verse for why He did what He did. He loved the world so much, even in its wretched and wicked state of being, He was willing to part with His “only begotten son.”

He doesn’t call us to understand it all. He does not even ask us to accept all of it at once. He offers us salvation based on belief in the Son as Lord and Savior.

We cannot explain how or why He did it so in a way that would satisfy theologians and humanities professors of sociology and psychology. Yet, if we can come like a babe in Christ, we can sip the sincere milk of our faith. We come to know. that the price that we should have paid was executed already on our behalf by an innocent man on a lonely hill hanging between two criminals as He gave all for a sinful world.

Read Full Post »

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

-Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)

God is available to us.  We do not have to await a mediator in the form of a priest or anyone else.  Jesus serves as our “great high priest” who “did not sin.” He is our mediator, seated at the right hand of the throne of God and advocating for us before God.  

Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 
– Mark 15:38 (NKJV)

He makes our access to God available to us.  The work of Jesus upon the cross brought about the torn veil that led to the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the temple where access to God was limited to those of the priestly order.  That was destroyed and torn in two by the sacrifice of Jesus.  We, as believers through His shed blood, now have access to God.

Take some time and spend it with God, meditating on the sacrifice of Jesus.

Read Full Post »

The angel then assured her that she had found favour with God, and would become the mother of a son whose name she should call Jesus, the Son of the Highest, one in a nature and perfection with the Lord God. – Matthew Henry’s Commentary (Luke 1:26-38)

Jesus Christ is the personification of perfection.

Jesus was Promised: He was the child of promise. (2 Samuel 7:16; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)

Jesus was Presented: He was presented in the Jewish custom. (Luke 2:21-23, 39)

Jesus was Persecuted: He was the Lamb of God as John the Baptist called Him (John 1:29).  He was slain for our sins, our transgressions and our iniquities according to Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 53).

Yet, without His perfection, He could have never stood in our stead and taken on our sin upon the cross.  He was, as Peter stated, a lamb without spot or blemish.  He epitomizes perfection.  He embodies perfection.  He exemplifies perfection.  He is perfect, and we are challenged to become perfect like Him.

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. – Colossians 1:28 (NIV)
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: – Ephesians 4:13 (KJV)

 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death – Philippians 3:10 (NIV)
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. – Hebrews 5:14 (NIV)

Read Full Post »

Ye have wearied Jehovah with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? In that ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of Jehovah, and he delighteth in them; or where is the God of justice?- Malachi 2:17 (ASV)

If you have heard many of the sermons encouraging individuals to “bring all of the tithes into the storehouse” and receiving a blessing that you do not have “room enough to receive,” you most probably are familiar with the message of the Book of Malachi to some degree.  It has been used to urge the reluctant to release their hold on money and let God have His due as the Lord God who changes not.  It has long been used as a one-way directive from the pulpit to the pews regarding the submission of one to the Lord’s calling for tithes and offerings.  Unfortunately, this is not the entire message of Malachi.

The Minor Prophets: Micah-Malachi Volume 2 (Expositional Commentary)What Preachers Never Tell You About Tithes & Offerings: The End of Clergy Manipulation & ExtortionMalachi speaks to the priests and the people.  The prophet has a message that deals with the coming of the Lord and His messenger as well as the failure of God’s people and His priests to keep their covenants and obey His ordinances.  Read the entire message of Malachi to get the full meaning of it.  Don’t take someone else’s word for it.  Read it for yourself.

Read Full Post »

Some time later God tested AbrahamThen God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” – Genesis 22:1-2 (NIV)
Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
Even the best get tested.  The faithful are still tried and taken through things.  The trusting must go through trials and tribulations.
Check the Christian blogosphere and the answers will range from your garden variety samplings of strengthening, suring up, and building up to a few unorthodox views that take a stab at suggesting such tests and trials are to prove faithfulness.  The latter examples do not seem so unorthodox until you see that the divide that occurs with these views is that it is proving the believer’s faithfulness to God on one side and showing that God is faithful, keeping all of His promises just as He has said.

Father Abraham was tested by God “some time later” according to the New International Version.  We find that this man who had awaited his son of promise did not tarry long. The third verse of this same chapter tells us that Abraham went to take care of the matter the very next day.  in fact, the King James Version says it was “early in the morning.” He did not await an opportune time to spring it on his wife like over dinner or just prior to an evening walk.  Abraham got up and got busy doing as God had said the very next day.

Before some super-sanctified prayer warrior or Christian soldier gets their Bible pages all ruffled up because Abraham did not act immediately, let’s settle one matter first.  Think of the last three things that you honestly heard or sensed God telling you to do that were not “normal” behavior for you.  Now, with those in mind, think of how much debate and doubt swam around in your mind.  Look back at the self talk that may have come about due to what God was saying to you by His Spirit.  After some careful consideration, don’t even bother.  It may not do you any good if you cannot see the human fallibility in all of us.

Ponder how much God desires a deeper and closer relationship with you.  Identify at least two things that you could sacrifice for a closer walk with Him.  Please do not including your children, wife or in-laws on the list.  Some tests just come with the territory.  Start tearing away from those “sacrifices.” Do it first thing tomorrow morning.  Purge yourself of them.  Leave them at God’s altar and do not return for them no matter how much you want them back.  If you can recall, I used the word sacrifice.  It’s the same type of sacrifice that is symbolized when John the Baptizer called Jesus the Lamb of God.  Identify what your sacrifice will be today.

Zondervan NIV Study Bible, Indexed

Read Full Post »

Revelations in Revelation-Part 1 (The Alpha and the Omega)

The title of the final book of the Bible has a revealing title: The Revelation of Jesus Christ  or The Revelation to John.  It varies from on Bible translation to another but each, no matter who published or printed the particular Bible, has the same opening words: “The revelation of Jesus Christ…” Rev. 1:1 (NIV).  The revelation is about Him, the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Here is what is revealed about Him initially:

  • “…Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. 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 for ever and ever! Amen.” (vv.5-6, NIV)
  • “…he is coming with the clouds,  and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him..” (v. 7, NIV)
  • He bears many names: Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Beginning and End (vv. 8, 17, NIV)

I believe John’s testimony serves well for us to remember: Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.  If we both hear this prophecy and take it to heart, we can expect a blessing from the Living One, the one truly revealed by the prophecy:  Jesus Christ.

Read Full Post »

18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (HCSB)

The Law of Moses calls for the best or the first to be sacrificed to God.  The covenant wasn’t asking for leftovers from those who identified themselves as the people of God.  No, the Law demanded that God receive the firstfruits.  Even in our redemption, He demonstrated that best was to be offered as a sacrifice, pure and undefiled.

Peter says that the Lamb of God was a “lamb without defect or blemish.” This sacrifice was perfect.  Peter also equated the blood to be “the precious blood of Christ.” He shares that the blood is the means for us being redeemed, reconciled unto the Father Himself by His own sacrifice of His Son.

I like the simple way Peter puts it here in 1 Peter, but the best description of the “perfect sacrifice” is between Isaiah 53 and Hebrews 10:1-18.  While Isaiah provides the prophecy that reveals the “man of sorrows” who suffered for the sinful and became sin for us, Hebrews chapter 10 gives us a clear picture of ritual sacrifice turned into redemption and reconciliation by the power of God.

But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.
Isaiah 53:5 (HCSB)

Read Full Post »

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.
– Luke 17:3 (NIV)
“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realising you were the prisoner!”
Max Lucado
I don’t forget what I have done.  All of the bad that I have stirred up still has its lingering effects.  I try to cover the scars and the tattoos with navy blue and banker’s grey power suits.  I hide the tears that I want to shed for my wrongs behind the dark lenses of wrap-around shades or under the low-riding brim of a fedora. 
Then, always right before I get totally worn out and weighed down, He speaks softly to my spirit through His Holy Spirit.
I took care of that for you already.
I stand in awe, wondering how could that be.
I fight with myself to come to some understanding why.  Why would the Savior do so for me?
Me? I have all of this baggage, though.
I wonder what I am to do without all of this junk to carry around.
But I sin, Lord.
I forgive.
 No, I mean I really sin. 
I forgive.

I am a real big sinner.  I know I do not  please You.
I forgive.
What about from here on and I mess up?
I forgive.

And if it is more? Or, even worse?

I forgive.


And again?


And again and. . .


How long will you keep that up?



Day after day.

Until you make it to your new home with Me.



* Amen is translated as “so be it” or “it is so.” It offers a response of agreement or declared affirmation.

Read Full Post »

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.- Romans 5:19 (NIV)

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
Hebrews 10:10 (NLT)

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. – Hebrews 13:12 (ESV)

The debt of sin paid by His death.  I love how Isaiah 53 puts it in such poetic and picturesque terms, especially in the old English.

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah calls Him a “man of sorrows.”  How else would you describe a man mocked for offering Himself as a sacrifice to for the world? What other label would you place upon a man sent to His own and they received Him not? Think of how hard it has been to love and forgive those who have hurt you or slandered you.  Imagine if you had the power to wipe them out with your very words.

Thank God for Jesus being the God-man.  He was fully God and He was fully human.  He had enough God in Him to refrain from unleashing armies of angels on Jerusalem that day.  He was human enough that He bled, though.   He was so godly that He asked the father to forgive the people who persecuted and ridiculed Him out of their ignorance, “for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). 

He wasn’t hung in the midst of the marketplace.  He wasn’t stretched before the other zealots  and insurrectionists for seditious acts of rebellion against the emperor and his constituents.  Pilate may have ordered it, but the Lord orchestrated it to happen.  He was taken to the outskirts of town and hung amidst the outcasts.  The King James Version used the phrase: and he was numbered with the transgressors.

Jesus died at Calvary.

Jesus died on the cross.

Jesus died as a cure for our condition.

… and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.– Isaiah 53: 12 (KJV)

Read Full Post »

Can you stand to take the test? I am speaking of the tested strength that withstands abuse amid sacrificial outworking for the blessing and benefit of others.  At the very time that you are offering yourself in a servant’s posture, can you stand the ridiculous ridicule of the ungrateful and the shameless? Could you echo the words of Jesus?

 Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

I would imagine it would be difficult for us to say whether or not we could stand the test.  Images of Calvary emergeThe prophecy of Isaiah’s suffering Savior come to mind.  Would you still forgive despite their harsh and cruel insults hurled at you? Even the two who hung at either side of Him chimed in with the others.

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Those who seek to serve like Christ must be willing to sacrifice like ChristYet, our greatest service may be to love. He said He came to serve and not be served.  Are you willing to offer your all for the sake of His name?  And, while we love with our full hearts, we allow our love to cover a multitude of sins with an abundance of forgiveness.  The Apostle Paul spoke of a more excellent way and instructing believers to forgive as the Lord forgave.

How would you react when the very people you are helping keep hurting you more and more? What words would you use at that point? Would you still be loving and kind? Would you pass the test?

Could the Lord count on you?

Would you pass the test?

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »