Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Signifcance of the Blood at Easter

Easter brings a beautiful time of year that holds great significance for the Christian where the cross and blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ are concerned. No other religion has ever claimed either that their god or leader to be worshiped has lasted beyond the grave like Christianity. Many followers of these other belief systems can point to an tomb or grave where lay the remains of their revered, but not the Christian. There are no bones, nothing but what was said by an angel as recorded in Scripture that "He is not here,for He has risen..." What is the importance of the cross,and why was blood necessary for the work of salvation for man's state of sinfulness? As we celebrate the holiest of weeks before Easter let us consider these questions.

First I want to share with you why there was a blood sacrifice by Jesus dying upon the cross. Then we will look at the cross itself and how it became the vehicle for the execution of Jesus.

Man since creation in the Garden of Eden enjoyed full fellowship and relationship with God his Creator. God made man, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life so that man became a living soul...not so for the animals. Man is not of the animal kingdom as our scientists categorize, but made in the very image of God,"Let us make man in our image." This is an important distinction. Man's relationship hinged and was in full knowledge of the rules and decrees of the Lord, God. God throughout creation gave man instructions and special jobs. He tended the garden, named all the animals and even was given a special tree to not eat from~one special tree that was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Man knew the rules or so it seemed, and there was harmony, happiness and health for all of God's creation. God even said, "it was good." This implies with all of God's holiness and power that creation had to be VERY VERY good because how excellent does something have to be before GOD says that it's good? I suspect it was way beyond our imagination how wonderful it could be...gorgeous and perfect in every way...God's perfect creation.

But perfect creation didn't last as enters the serpent who takes advantage of the woman where her knowledge and understanding of the Word of God was concerned, for when the serpent twisted the Scriptures, Eve went along with his summation and even twisted Scripture herself. Not a good sign that God's created humanity was doing its job in knowing His laws and instructions. Then ignorance led to disobedience which led to a consequence that initially was for the garden dwellers alone to bear but was passed on into generations to this day~death. "For the wages of sin is death, and in the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt surely die. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Before God's issue of justice for the wrong doing, Adam and Eve found themselves naked and ashamed before their God who had made them,"Adam where are you?" God cried out to bring Adam to his senses,a place of true repentance. Imagine the fear and distress these two felt in KNOWING they were disobedient. I think of our little ones who hide their faces in shame or my son who would in order to "hide" what he had done wrong, cover my eyes,"mama,don't look!" he would say to me...But God saw just as I can often see too.

Consequences reached beyond the break in relationship, and extended into the creation; what was once a place of tranquility, became a place for the death of the souls and the first sacrifice of an animal. We must remember that God shed the blood of the innocent to cover the sin, so creating for Adam and Eve skins made into clothing to cover their nakedness. I have heard it said that as the one who had given each animal his or her name, imagine the grief and shame heaped upon Adam for the loss of a "friend." Whether or not Adam felt this emotional upset one thing stands clear, blood was shed to cover the sin or disobedience and it was for Adam and Eve~they were to blame as is transferred to all of mankind.

Forever the perfect world of Adam and Eve was changed. Now cursed,"they would surely die." as disobedient humanity. Cast from the garden, Adam and Eve were left to find their own way, but they took the animal sacrifice with them out of the garden to their family as demonstrated by their son, Abel who offered to God a pleasing sacrifice acceptable by God. In contrast, his brother offered one unpleasing which was at the seat of family disunity. Consequences of sin followed these first generation humans as the sins of the fathers followed into the 3rd and 4th generations. There is a division here where Cain is divided from his family forever an unbeliever, unacceptable~perhaps the earliest of the heathen nations for whom the nation of Israel was forever waring. Another consequence of sin. A family, a world divided in belief and practice. This goes on to this day with all manner of various beliefs represented by all sorts of pagan, and cultural beliefs inconsistent with the Judeo-Christian beliefs. And I don't have to discuss any further the discourse among many in these areas.

The blood sacrifice was symbolic and practiced throughout the Old Testament throughout the Tabernacle worship and even Temple worship. Today Jews do not practice this form of worship to God.

In each and every generation there were those who followed the sacrificial practices for offering for sin. There was a priesthood system developed as well as prophets who spoke and convened with God to bring the message of God to the people. They told of God's promised Messiah,a redeemer from the Lord.

The priest would go into an area of the holiest where the Lord,God was met with over the sins of the people. There were ceremonial washings and all types of priestly preparations including a rope tied upon the priest's leg so if some sin were unconfessed, his body could be hauled out as he would be struck down by the Lord. God was serious about not being in the presence of sin. So serious in fact, that when Jesus was on the cross, He experienced His Father's rejection "My God! My God!Why hast thou forsaken me?" he cried. God is intolerant of sin. AND He categorizes it all with the same sentence~death. Death that is an eternal separation from God's presence. This has little to do with how we humans decide which sins are worse than others.

In Leviticus it tells us that "the life is in the blood" meaning that not only as humans and created beings,such as animals we all need our blood to sustain life, but that spiritually, blood would be required to bring forgiveness to mankind's position of enmity with God.

In Isaiah the prophet told that the sins of humanity would be upon the messiah. Messiah, promised one in Hebrew; Christ is Greek for messiah. I discussed in detail the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy where Jesus was concerned. Go to see this post.

John the Baptist,cousin messenger of Jesus said when he saw Jesus,"behold!The Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world!" What a statement of credibility for who this Jesus is...John linked Jesus to the sacrificial ssytems of the older times when the priest made offerings on behalf of the people.

Jesus told His disciples that in three days "this temple will be destroyed and I will rebuild it up." He tried to tell them of His impending execution and resurrection. In the Passover celebration He broke the bread and said, "take eat this is my body which is broken for you. This is my blood which is shed for you." Jesus was foretelling of His death instructing His disciples to observe this practice until He comes again. Today, we call this the Lord's Supper or the Last Supper which has been the subject of many great works of art. It was in this event that Jesus also told of a betrayer.

Next time I will discuss the Significance of the Cross. Why was this form of execution used in the death of Jesus?

The Bible says without the shedding of blood there is no remission or forgiveness for sin. This is very important. Jesus' blood is the payment for the errors of humanity. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that who so ever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Easter is a wonderful time of year where we celebrate what Jesus did when He paid for our sins and enabled humanity to have a relationship with God. If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Savior, accept Him today and trust in His shed blood to save you from eternal separation from God. When others are looking for the true meaning of life, when we seek God through His Son Jesus we can know that the blood made the difference and that we are His through adoption and in Christ. Accept Him today. Let this Easter be your best season ever!

If you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior,or you have comments please contact me!
Happy Easter!

In Grace and Mercy,
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

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