Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
The Kingdom, Part 8
In part 7 of The Kingdom, we looked a little more at Jesus’ teachings that focus on the Kingdom inhabitants. We also noted the use of ‘selfies’ as a means of identifying ourselves with others. From there we moved onto the question, “If we had a selfie with Jesus, would others identify us as belonging to Him? We began to explore the concept of “marking” as a way to identify things that belong to us (e.g., branding livestock, or items we own with serial numbers on them, such as TVs or Computers). Other means of marking may include employee ID badges, which allow access to their place of business. Finally, we reviewed the inception of the observance of Passover in Exodus, when the blood of the Paschal lamb was smeared on the sides and top of the Israelites’ door frames. These markings of blood served as a sign of protection to God’s people when the angel of death carried out the 10th (& final) plague on Egypt: killing the firstborns of all the humans and animals, (Ex. 12: 7, 11-13, NIV).
The annual practice of sacrificing a lamb at Passover was initiated to thank God for protecting the Israelites from destruction. However, the observance of sacrificing an unwilling lamb at Passover was a fore-shadowing of the once and for all time sacrifice that was made by the willing Lamb, who knew the heavy reality of that title before He ever left heaven. “Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All” is the heading that the New International Version uses for the 10th chapter of Hebrews. This chapter explains the Law could not provide the reality of removing sin and its effects; if it could have done so, there would have been no need for annual sacrifices (Heb. 10: 1-18). But John the Baptist made it clear, “[he] saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world!” (Jn. 1:29, MSG).
The Lamb suffered much more than all the previously sacrificed lambs. But what is the significance of Christ being sacrificed on the cross and His blood that was spilt? Through His blood we have forgiveness of sins (Jn. 3:16; Eph. 1:7); we can enter into a holy and healed relationship with God (Heb. 10:19; Eph. 2:13); He removes our guilt (1 Jn. 1:9); we can stand against satan’s accusations. When Jesus was on the cross, He took the sin of every human on Himself. But God is a holy God, and He can’t look at sin. Yet, because of the Blood that Jesus shed, whoever asks for forgiveness is covered by His blood: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross,” (Col. 1: 19-20).Just as the Israelites were marked (via the blood on the sides and tops of their door-frames) as set aside for God and for His protection, Christ’s blood marks us or covers us. So, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see the mess we’ve made of our lives and our relationships. God only sees the mark of the Blood on us. Hallelujah!
Tomorrow we will look at some of Jesus’ teachings that focus on how individuals may enter the Kingdom.
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)