Thursday, May 6, 2010

The blood of Jesus

"The blood of Jesus, it is like the widow's oil... it's enough to pay the price to set you free."

This morning I was listening to a song by Andrew Peterson, and this lyric stood out to me. It refers to the story in I Kings 17, in which Elijah told a widow to give him food, even though all she had was enough to feed her family one more meal. There are many ways people teach this story, different angles you can take in the "moral" that it portrays. We love to find morals, don't we? "And the moral of the story is..." Sometimes we like to use this story to teach the importance of blind faith, or sacrificial giving, or complete obedience. And I think all of those have their place and are accurate... but the song reminded me that there is so much more to Scripture, that God cannot be packaged into a moral or a three-point sermon. This story is actually a picture of the gospel, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and what it has to do with us: "It can fill up every jar and every heart that ever beat - when it's all you have, it's all you'll ever need."

The rest of the song also focuses on other stories from the Old Testament: the "leper's river" - in 2 Kings 5, when Naaman went to Elisha for healing, he was sent to the Jordan. It is like the blood of Jesus, which washes clean those to believe and are covered by it; "Elijah's fire," in I Kings 18, which he called down from heaven before the prophets of Baal. It is like the blood of Jesus - all our wisdom and efforts could never replace its power, and nothing we do can extinguish its power.

These made me think of other old familiar stories in the Bible, and how they are pictures of the gospel... Noah's ark in Genesis 7 is like the blood of Jesus, because it was the only way to be saved from the flood. The Red Sea in Exodus 14 is like the blood of Jesus, providing a path of freedom to those who trust in God and blocking and destroying those who refuse him. Rahab's scarlet chord in Joshua 2 is like the blood of Jesus, which is safety and hope and freedom and life for those who trust in it.... And it goes on.

One of my favorite quotes is one I heard from the pastor of a summer camp I went to as a teenager; he said: "Wherever you cut the Bible open, it bleeds the blood of Christ." It's interesting, we're so caught up in trying to find different morals and lessons, simplifying stories to teach children, and organizing them into easy-to-digest devotionals, that I think we forget the fact that the entire Bible is a picture pointing to Christ's sacrifice for us. It's not really all about how we manage money or how we obey laws or how we stay away from evil things... those are good things to learn, but don't overlook the fact that it's really - at the core - all about Jesus!

The Challenge: For those of you who know the old Sunday school stories so well that you are tempted to skim over them with a "bla, bla, bla..." go back and read them again, looking for the symbol of the blood of Jesus in those passages. It may revolutionize your Bible study time, and will most definitely make you more aware of the price that was paid for you, and that is was God's perfect plan from the beginning.

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