No more blood needed
Hebrews 9: He brought together God and his people in this new way.
It was a bloody religion. Even the giving of the Law was accompanied by the sheading of the blood of innocent animals. Through the centuries the blood continues to flow and on one day each year, in particular, the blood is taken behind the curtain into the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the High Priest and all the people. Then, Jesus, the Son of God, comes to make the ultimate blood sacrifice: his own. This High Priest gives himself, and in so doing, finishes the old bloody system once and for good. No more blood and no more curtain. These things that stood as a barrier between God and man are abolished for good, belonging in history books and museums rather than in real life. Jesus creates a new connection between God and man, the curtain removed and no more blood necessary. Today, we follow the Lord’s command to “remember” by receiving the Lord’s Supper. In the cup though, we don’t need blood. The absence of blood is, in itself, a lesson. Because Christ’s blood was shed long ago, just a bit of wine (in my church tradition, its “new wine”) is all that’s needed.
Take Away: Christ’s sacrifice was what was needed all along and it never needs to be made again.
There is a fountain…
Zechariah 13: A fountain will be opened…for washing away their sins.
God’s prophet describes a wonderful day of hope when the last battle has been fought and the last foothold of sin has been purged from the people the Lord claims as his own. Zechariah envisions a cleansing fountain where people can come to have their sins washed away, their lives made clean. It was in 1772 that William Cowper penned a poem based on Zechariah’s words. Cowper had not enjoyed an easy life. He suffered severe depression and had at one time attempted suicide. Even after coming to Christ he struggled with depression. At the same time, he wrote the words to many songs of faith. His hymn based on the passage before us today is his best known. Cowper realizes that the fountain Zechariah describes flows, not with cleansing water, but with the blood of Christ. The fountain that makes “soiled lives clean” was opened at Calvary and the blood spilled there continues to wash away sins to this day. “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”
Take Away: Thank the Lord for that cleansing fountain.
Water from the well
2 Samuel 23: There is no way, God, that I’ll drink this.
As David’s life is being summed up, we find a listing of significant warriors who served him. Three warriors are especially outstanding: Josheb-Basshebeth, Elazar, and Shammah. These three men were the most fearsome of all the fighters in Israel. As an example of their ability and faithfulness to David, we hear one of their stories. David and his men are holed up in a cave while the Philistines occupy nearby Bethlehem. David remarks that a drink of water from the well there would taste very good to him. The Three decide to get him that drink. They fight their way through enemy lines to that particular well, draw water out of it, and then fight their way back out of the town. The Philistine soldiers must have been very confused by all this! When the three return to camp, they offer David water from the well. At this point, the focus turns from the Three to David. He pours the water out as an offering to God, remarking that the water in that container is like the blood of these brave men. To drink it would be to take their lives too lightly. I’m thankful today for the bravery of another Warrior. His life started in that very town, but, when the time was right he fought his way to the very gates of Hell to provide me living water. The blood of that brave Warrior is precious to me too.
Take Away: Life is mine by the precious blood of Jesus.