Hebrews 9:22 – Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (NIV)
Few movies have ever occupied my attention, but one that I watched on television as a young lad left an unforgettable impression. Although I might stand to be corrected on some details, I recall that the name was The Poseidon Adventure, and the plot involved a group of survivors in a cruise ship which had overturned in a tidal wave. The survivors had to make their way through obstacles and debris inside the damaged vessel to reach an escape hatch.
In one particular scene, the group had to navigate a narrow walkway from one part of the ship to another. The walkway was suspended over a large open area, and passage was blocked by a huge gush of steam escaping from a broken pipe. No one could pass.
To the far side of the open area, at a right angle to the walkway, there was a large wheel valve that controlled the flow of steam. One of the survivors, using a rope, catapulted across to grab hold of the wheel and managed to turn it, closing off the flow of steam and allowing all the others to pass through. There was, however, no way back for him, and after using all his strength to shut off the valve, he dropped to his death on the floor below.
One laid down his life, so that the others might pass through and live.
God made it clear in ancient Israel that death was necessary if forgiveness and life were to be enjoyed. The blood of an animal had to be shed in sacrifice before human sin could be remitted and forgiven. Yet all the blood of all the animals offered in sacrifice could only point forward to the spotless Lamb of God who laid down His own life.
Such was, and is, our Saviour, Jesus Christ: One died, that all who look to Him might live!
- Alas! and did my Saviour bleed,
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
Was it for crimes that I have done,
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut his glories in,
When God, the mighty Maker, died
For man the creature's sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears;
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt mine eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
'Tis all that I can do.
- – Isaac Watts
Hebrews 9:12 – He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. (NIV)
Prayer: O Lord, thank You for taking human flesh and blood. Thank You for offering Your body — bruised and broken — as the one single sufficient sacrifice at Calvary. Thank You for shedding Your own blood to obtain for us eternal redemption. Knit our hearts and lives to You in gratitude this day and forever. Amen.