A Thought for the Month
"The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1.9 RSV). These are comforting words and recall much to mind. They remind us that our Saviour 'died that we might be forgiven'. In Him, God removes all that is wrong in our lives, if we trust Him. God gave His Son, so that by our believing on Him, He would remove the cause of death and offer new life. There is no other way. There is much that led up to the shedding of Jesus' blood on Calvary. The story begins in the early days of the human race when Abel took a lamb as a sacrifice to worship the Creator. Shortly afterwards Cain shed his brother's blood and it 'cried out' to God from the soil. The story continues through the Old Testament and the New, until we come to the final vision of Revelation. There we are told of the great cleansing through the blood of the Lamb. It is a song of victory that sin and evil have been removed because of Jesus' obedience to His Father, in laying down His life and shedding His blood.
John, who wrote the letter quoted above, stood with Mary and watched as the blood of Jesus was shed upon the cross. In that dreadful scene was displayed the sad story of humanity ‑ a history written, as it were, in blood. Men seem to have found pleasure in shedding each other's blood. Tribal battles deteriorated into global wars. There is no excuse or good reason for this behaviour. In a way we are all guilty of it every time we are angry with our brother or sister ‑ every time we think hatefully ‑ we are all guilty. It begins by thinking wrongly about another human being. It is to do with jealousy and revenge and a feeling that we want 'to get one over' some other man, woman or child. It is not until those thoughts are removed from the mind that the threat of murder can be removed. But thankfully, sin that begins in the human heart and may result eventually in the carnage of war can be forgiven, if there is full confession of the fault 'at the foot of the cross'. It is so simple yet so effective and vital.
Jesus did no wrong. His whole life was spent positively ‑ blessing the lives of others as no other had done particularly those who needed Him most. Yet His own fellow countrymen wanted to shed His innocent blood.
How could Caiaphas and Co. plan to kill such a person? How could Judas betray such a friend to death? It was no strange thing for the soldiers who were used to shedding blood. They didn't ask those they slew ‑ 'do you deserve what I am doing?' Brutal murder was part of their stock in trade. Yet a centurion did have better thoughts, as he watched Jesus die. Some cried and some mocked and some just stood and let it happen. But what if it had not happened? It doesn't bear thinking about. All the blood and tears that have been shed since the dawn of history, would have been in vain. Praise God for the shedding of that blood on Calvary that meant victory over evil and sin. It is a matter of sooner or later accepting that 'Jesus died for you and me'. He hung and suffered there for you and me. And every time we become aware that we have broken God's law of love we should turn again to the sacrifice that cost the Son of God His life when, He of all people, did not deserve to die.
Should we not pray that our Father will make our conscience sensitive and aware of sin ‑ shortcomings, weakness ‑ that which does not measure up to the Father's love needs His forgiveness. He is more ready to forgive than we are to confess our faults. Let it not be a passing vision of the cross around 'Eastertide'. Let it be a constant vision so that we shall enjoy the victory of the surrendered life in the resurrected Saviour in our hearts ‑ life lived to the full. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."