Today’s Reading: Hebrews 9:11-28
I wonder if you have ever thought “Why did Jesus have to die?” That is a question I was asked recently by someone who visited our Christian centre’s coffee morning. The answer is contained in our text: “…and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22b (KJV)
Remission has to do with clearing up a debt. In the words of the Bible we are all debtors. Our sin causes us to be at odds with God, in debt to God. This is because we were created by Him, and He demands that we live without sin. Only one Man, Jesus, ever lived-up to that standard. The rest of us blew that one, big time!
Shedding of blood is the act of opening up the way for our sins to be remitted. If God were to forgive just because of His love, without a sacrifice, it would be a distortion of His nature of justice. On the other hand, we cannot pay the cost, so God, in order to satisfy his righteousness, while still acting in accordance with His nature of love and mercy, paid the cost – that is atonement.
Max Lucado, in his book, Six Hours One Friday, tells the story of a missionary in Brazil who discovered a tribe of Indians in a remote part of the jungle. They lived near a large river. The tribe was in need of medical attention. A contagious disease was ravaging the population. People were dying daily.
A hospital was not too terribly far away—across the river, but the Indians would not cross it because they believed it was inhabited by evil spirits. To enter the water would mean certain death. The missionary explained how he had crossed the river and was unharmed. They were not impressed. He then took them to the bank and placed his hand in the water. They still wouldn’t go in. He walked into the water up to his waist and splashed water on his face. It didn’t matter. They were still afraid to enter the river. Finally, he dove into the river, swam beneath the surface until he emerged on the other side. He punched a triumphant fist into the air. He had entered the water and escaped. It was then that the Indians broke out into a cheer and followed him across.
That’s exactly what Jesus did! He told the people of His day that they need not fear the river of death, but they wouldn’t believe. He touched a dead boy and called him back to life. They still didn’t believe. He whispered life into the body of a dead girl and got the same result. He let a dead man spend 4 days in a tomb and then called him out and the people still didn’t believe Him. Finally, He entered the river of death and came out on the other side. No wonder we celebrate the Resurrection!