Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Appealing to the Blood of Jesus for our rebellion – and others’
Market Cross, Chichester
YESTERDAY’S thought – the thought for this whole week really – was that our sin put Jesus on the Cross. On Good Friday – perhaps God Friday would be a better name – much of the world takes a moment to pause and consider the crucifixion event. Even Muslims will pause and reflect on Jesus,their greatest prophet.
Up and down the country there will be gatherings and marches of witness – many of us will be joining in one. Through various key Bible readings, songs and prayers, there is a kind of journey of experience which takes us up to the Market Square in our local small Chiltern town (in some grander towns and cities there is a market cross in the middle) and that’s a good place to remember the crucifixion event. What do we bring? Sin. However by divine favour we can lay it at the bottom of a blood-stained, splintered, ugly execution cross and have it cancelled out, the burden of guilt relieved, condemnation removed.
In the story of the Exodus, Moses went up the mountain and met with God personally and received the Law over a six week period. He returned the first time – and met a rebellion. The tribes had, in that short space of time, decided to do their own thing. They had rejected God’s ordinances and Moses’ God-ordained leadership. They had been set a challenge, and failed on a grand scale. And do, a second time, after deep repentance on behalf of the tribes, Moses met with God again and took with him two new stones. The Lord passed in front of Moses and proclaimed:
The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, [is] slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin [failure].
The new nature that’s made alive in us when we trust Jesus with our lives and become Christians can get cornered sometimes by the old flesh nature rising up again. We swerve back to those three dimensions of sin:
- Wickedness, or iniquity, from awon which has the meaning of a twisting and deviating;
- Rebellion (or transgression) from pesha, revolt – part of the ancient depravity that Adam got us all into; and
- Failure to hit the target, hatta’ah or in the N.T. the better-known word hamartia.
What we bring is our version of Adam’s sin – our bits of independence and refusal to submit to God.
You might want to bring others from the wider community with you, at least in prayer. The market cross symbolises the time when everyone, young or old, knew the stories of the Bible and the tenets of the faith. They knew what it meant to turn to God, and at times of need, security threatened by a French invasion or drought or blight affecting the crops or sickness among animals or people, they would respond, confess their sin and invite fresh blessing.
We live in an area where people, well educated in the main, have learned the stories and been taught the basic truths of the Christian faith – and have rejected it as surely as those who made the Golden Calf. We need to identify with that going off-track, a deliberate move against God.
We know that the Blood is sufficient for us, and we are deeply thankful for that fact. Now it is a call to a higher place of faith to believe that Jesus’ blood is sufficient to remove the curse and spiritual blindness as we repent on behalf of those who are still rejecting Him, and intercede, stand in the gap, for them. We take it the the Cross and cry out: “God save now!”