August 7, 2023 Jesus told the religious leaders confronting Him, “You search and keep on searching and examining the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and yet it is those [very Scriptures] that testify about Me; and still you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” — John 5:39–40, Amplified Bible.
Clarity is important in any communication, especially when trying to convey Biblical truths — whether historical facts or moral principles we should be living by.
Jesus’ claim was supported by all He did regarding healings and miracles — all testified to by eyewitnesses. Yet, only reading about them, and even believing in the chronicled narratives, is not enough.
And what was His claim? He was the Messiah who came to redeem and restore the Hebrew Nation. Not only that, but He came to be the Savior of the whole world — past, present, and future. Redeem meant forgiving their disobedience. Restore meant the renewing of their actual relationship with God. Savior of the whole world meant He would give the opportunity for everyone to become joined to God’s family.
Everyone would be welcome.
However, there remained this one small problem.
One has to go back to the story of the Fall of Man laid out in the book of Genesis where an animal had to be sacrificed to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness. This becomes an allegory for the need to shed blood for a covering for disobedience and all the other harmful things Mankind would further do.
That is where the Levitical Laws for animal sacrifice continued, because “In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” — Hebrews 9:22 NLT.
It seems like a brutal bloodlust, but the Bible gives this reason: “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” Biology confirms that without blood coursing through our veins, we cannot live. That is where the allegory becomes a hard reality.
Long story short, Jesus became our atoning sacrifice on the altar of the crucifixion on a Roman cross. In fact, the Bible repeatedly calls Him the Lamb of God.
Here’s the difference between the blood sacrifice of sheep and goats from Jesus’ sacrifice: He didn’t just tip the scales for our failures, but He gave empowerment to completely wash them away, giving everyone the opportunity for a fresh start with God, renewing a friendly relationship with Him, and beyond that, giving the ability to build our lives on God’s principles of righteousness.
However, this is a gift individuals must choose to open. Too many don’t. We try to find balance in our lives looking through a bunch of empty boxes with impressive labels and pretty wrappings.
His sacrifice was not just a counterweight to offset the weight of the consciousness of our shortcomings.
However, this hinges on our ability to choose. It works only if we are looking for that kind of change in our lives. Otherwise, the whole Gospel of Jesus is worthless, useless for us.
Read the Bible, especially what Jesus taught, and seek the personal relationship with God that Jesus suffered and died to give to us without cost to us. Come to Jesus so that you may have life.
“But I’m already alive!” you might say.
“But don’t you want the bridge to be open to get to the other side of the waters when you die?” I ask.
I continue to ask, “How’s that life working out for you?” “And you might want to take a look around you — inside and out.” I suggest that you are spending too much time opening those empty boxes. Also, I would remind you to keep in mind, Jesus is talking about a new life, eternal life to flow through your veins — for both now and forever.
Jesus stated, “… whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.” — John 4:14, BSB.
I’m reminded of this quote, “Everyone dies, but not every man really lives.” It is part of a speech given by the Scots famous leader, William Wallace, in a rallying speech at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, September 11, 1297. Not for nothing. Just saying.