No matter how many animal sacrifices were made in the Temple…they never fully removed the people’s sin. It wasn’t until Jesus Christ gave Himself up as the unblemished Lamb of God that humankind was finally delivered from the guilt and punishment of sin. Hebrews 9:12 says, “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.” God offered His only son, Jesus, to take our place on that Cross. He died as an atonement for our sins…His blood being shed once for all. Which means He only had to died one time, not over and over again like the Temple sacrifices. For it was Jesus that took upon Himself the sins of the entire world that you and I might be redeemed and set free.
You were on the Lord’s mind long before you had ever heard of Him. He saw you saved and made whole when you were at the very lowest point in your life. He saw you doing great things for Him way before you had the confidence to step out in the abilities He had given you. For the Lord not only knew your name… He saw the person you would become through Him.
I may be very old fashion, but I still like to talk to people on the phone…or better yet, face to face! Texting is ok, but I like to hear a person’s voice and interact in a more personal way. At the beginning of time God could have been silent, but He chose to speak through prophetic disclosure. But then Jesus Christ was born into the world, making a way for all of us to have an intimate relationship with our Savior. No longer did we have to hear about God…we could experience Him for ourselves.
It was Roman custom to have the condemned person carry the cross on which he was to suffer through the streets as a means of spectacle, humiliation, and as a deterrent for others. But Jesus is calling us to follow Him…to purposely take up and bear that figure of shame. For on that cross our sins were brutally nailed…on that cross our redemption was sealed in blood. To the Romans, the cross was a symbol of shame…but to Believers, it’s a symbol of salvation.
Philip, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, had found a Ethiopian eunuch traveling the road between Jerusalem and Gaza. The eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah, but was perplexed, so Philip started with that scripture, (Isaiah 53:7-8) and explained to the eunuch the good news of Jesus. Later as they traveled together, they came upon some water and it’s here the eunuch asks, “Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” Now in some late manuscripts verse 37 is added which says, “Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The eunuch answered, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ ” Baptism is the public demonstration of a personal decision…it symbolizes spiritual renewal, forgiveness of sins, adoption by God and eternal life. If you are a Believer but have never been baptized…ask yourself the same question the eunuch did, “Why shouldn’t I be baptized?”
To know the Lord Jesus Christ…is to live for Him. And in knowing Him…we will become more and more like Him, for we conform ourselves to His image. Knowing the Lord though is a life long journey of dying daily to our old self and deliberately becoming more like Him. But in the end, when people look at us, they won’t see us…they’ll only see Jesus.
The simple answer to these questions is…we can’t. In our immoral human state, we are not innocent before God and in right standing with Him, and no matter what we try to “do” to become righteous we will fail, for all of our good works are like filthy rags in His eyes, (Isaiah 64:6) The only way we can stand pure before God is to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, (that’s us) and to bear on His body our guilt and shame that we may stand before our Heavenly Father sinless and perfect…washed in the blood of Jesus.