Friday, April 10, 2009

What A Savior!

As we are approaching Easter, this week I've been reading over the various account of the crucifixion. One thing that has stood out to me like never before, was reading about the veil in the temple being torn.
You see, that veil had a purpose; it was there to keep people out, to shield the Holy from the unholy. It was in that room where God came down to meet with man, and not just anyone could enter. Only the very holiest man, the high priest, could go in, and had to spend much time in preparation for that moment when he would push aside the curtain and enter the Presence of God Almighty.
Those preparations could not be taken lightly; he had to cleanse himself - clean his body, put on special, pure garments that were only for this purpose - but most importantly, he could not enter with sin in his life.
The priest entered that room, the Holy place, with much fear and trembling. He knew if he entered and was found wanting, if his garments weren't clean, his life sinless, He wouldn't leave that room alive. And if he died, they couldn't even come in to remove the body - a rope was placed about his ankle before he entered, just in case.
It seems a little harsh to us, these stringent rules, but God cannot look on sin, and in those days, God actually came down to commune with them and tell them what to do. And so, the general population never knew the presence of God as we know it. The only way for them to receive forgiveness of sin was through the priest, and their sacrifice. Yes, they could pray and talk to him, but not like we can.
From the beginning of time, when man first sinned, God knew there had to be another plan. The sacrifices wouldn't suffice forever. There must be a better way! What if someone died in between sacrifices? What if they didn't have the means to bring a lamb or a dove?
So, He sent his Son.
His perfect Son.
His ONLY Son.
Because God knew the only was to make redemption available to everyone was to provide the sacrifice for them.
I cannot imagine the pain it must have caused Him to look down and watch His only child as He was beaten, spit on, laughed at, mocked, and brutally crucified; to see Him as He hung there in agony, blood running from the gashes in his skin - or what was left of His skin after they literally beat Him 'til His body was shredded - mutilated to the point where if she hadn't been there and known it was Him, His own mother might not have recognized Him.; and then, just when it seemed that Jesus needed His father the most, as God turned His back and left Him hanging there.
As a mother, at times I worry the my child might fall, or somehow hurt herself, and it causes me pain to think that she might be injured in any way, but to watch her suffer? I'd be right there in the middle of it doing everything I could to ease her pain! And if someone deliberately hurt her, I probably just about hurt them back. But God, knowing that there was no other way, seeing the need for a Savior, turned His back as Jesus took the sins of the world, and made the last blood sacrifice that would ever be needed - with His own life.
And just as the the last breath left His body, miles away in the city of Jerusalem, the veil, that thing that had protected the Holy place from the corruption without, the thing that had kept the people from entering the presence of God, was torn apart by unseen hands.
Why? Because the sacrifice had been made for once and for all. From that moment until the end of time, "whosoever" could enter the presence of God Almighty, and not with fear for their lives!: God's word says to "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
We can approach the Father with out fear that our sacrifice will not be accepted, because the sacrifice has been made for us! And Jesus said in John 6:37 "...him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
How can you help but thank Him, and give Him your life? After all, He gave His life for you!

Man of Sorrows! What a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atonement! Can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Lifted up was He to die;
It is finished! Was His cry;
Now in Heav'n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we'll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
(P.P. Bliss, 1875)
(Artwork by John Bell copyright 1998-2007 ( used with permission)

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