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Remembering the Bloodshed

James Grayston

The Remembrance

Remembrance Day – It started at the end of World War 1 to remember the members of the armed forces who gave up their lives in the line of duty.  On 11th November as hostilities of World War 1 ended on the 11th Day of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The red poppy has become a symbol of Remembrance Day as many poppies bloomed across the battlefields of Flanders in World War 1.  Their brilliant red colour a symbol for the blood that was spilled in the war.

Two minute silences were observed on Tuesday at 11am and this week has been marked by ceremonies at local war memorials all over the country. The royal family paid tribute to the sacrifice; Prince Harry by quoting Jesus Christ:

John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s lives for his friends”

The Bible speaks much about Jesus’ sacrifice - spilling his blood - and the importance of it.  As members of TCF we gather every Sunday to have our own remembrance of his death in the way that he asked us to in the bible.  We break bread to remember his body that was given for us and we drink wine to remember his blood that was shed for us.  In the same way that the poppy serves as a symbol for remembering lives lost the cup of wine likewise reminds the Christian of Jesus’ death on the cross.  The bible often uses symbols and imagery to help us to understand things better.

The many men and women who fought for the freedom of their nation from tyranny were serving the cause of Christian civilisation against the forces of cruelty and evil.  With no disrespect to the valour and sacrifice of these many men and women: Jesus Christ fought a battle of an even greater magnitude.  A spiritual battle beyond our physical realm.   A battle against ‘sin’ – the wrong that we do in our lives - and ‘death’ which comes as a result of sin.

Ephesians 1:7 – “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

Revelation 1:5 – “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.”

1 John 1:7 – “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

 

The Guilty

It’s important that we realise that God created us, is holy, and that we are sinners against God.

Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

As a result we are separate from God and are dead in our Sins

Isaiah 59:2 – “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.  And your sins have hidden his face from you so that He does not hear.”

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death.”

We can’t even save ourselves through good works. Religions will tell you that life is like a balance: when a person sins one side of the balance is weighed down and must be countered by a good deed.  The more evil someone does the more good they need to do to balance the evil out. And if at the end of life good outweighs bad then they obtain something greater.

The bible doesn’t say that…

Romans 3:10-11 – “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, no-one who seeks God.”

What is of first importance to God isn’t what’s going on physically but what our spiritual condition is.  Spiritual self is more important than physical self as all physical things have an end.

1 Samuel 16 v 7 – “Men look on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.”

 

The Passover

In the past, before Jesus came, God required animal sacrifices to cover the sins of people.  This was to teach us that something had to die for our sins.  One of the most prominent of those days of sacrifice was the Day of Atonement. On that day the High Priest offered a sacrifice to atone (or cover) both his and the people’s sins.

But Jesus didn’t die on the Day of Atonement. He died on the Passover because God intended to use that imagery of that story to teach us what Jesus had come to do.

About 3500 years ago, Israel was in slavery in the land of Egypt. God sent Moses to Pharaoh and demanded that he let God’s people go. But Pharaoh laughed and mocked the idea of so-called God of Israel. “Who is this God that he should tell ME what to do?”

So God introduced Himself.

Over the next few weeks God brought nine plagues upon Egypt to prove His power. The suffering in Egypt was so profound the priests literally begged Pharaoh to release Israel. But Pharaoh still refused.

So “the LORD had said to Moses, ‘I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.’” Exodus 11:1

Then God instructed Israel to prepare a special meal… a Passover meal. And the main course would be a lamb.  A lamb without blemish and with no broken bones. The blood of that lamb was to be painted on the doorposts and lentil of their homes.

And God said "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn— both men and animals— and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will PASS OVER you.  No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” Exodus 12:12-13

When God saw the blood of the Lamb, He “passed over” those homes (thus the title Passover). The blood of the lamb was the only thing God saw. And when God saw that blood… death did not visit that home. The blood of the lamb covered that household.

After John the Baptist had baptized Jesus in the Jordan, he pointed Jesus out to a couple of his disciples and declared: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

John was saying that Jesus had come to be our “pass over” lamb.

 

The Saved

The soldiers that have been remembered will be remembered as heroes, and rightfully so: they gave their lives for their country, their families and friends. However Jesus died and gave his life willingly for his enemies, who spat on his face, mocked and beat him, rejected him despite his kindness, grace and love.  He shed his blood, as he was scourged by Romans, mocked with a crown of thorns pushed into his skull, and nails were hammered through his hands and feet.

In spite of our cold hearts, our rebellion and rejection of him, God still loves you!  He proved this by giving up all that was precious to him, Jesus, on the cross.  Beyond the physical pain Jesus suffered something much worse.  “My God, why have you forsaken me?”   During three hours of darkness Jesus became guilty of every sin, and took the punishment and hell that we deserved.

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We can have eternal life as Jesus conquered death!  After his death and burial He rose from the grave three days later. Unlike the animal sacrifices of old Jesus will cover your sins forever as He is alive!

Jesus shed his blood specifically to cover your sins.  His blood is meant to cover your failures and weaknesses and when God comes again in judgement Jesus blood is the only thing that God will see. That will spare us from his wrath.  All he wants is for you to believe in him and he will forgive you of your sins and guarantees you a place in Heaven.