Saturday, April 7, 2012

The meaning of the wounds of Jesus Christ.

It's Saturday, and I've always wondered how Jesus Christ's followers must have felt on Saturday. Their hope had died with Jesus. It was now buried and decaying with Jesus. Their minds must have been filled with indescribable fear, anger, worry, frustration, and confusion. Even though Jesus had told them He would rise up from the grave, they couldn't see it and they didn't believe it.  

How terrible it must have been for them on Saturday.

And yet on this Easter Saturday, nearly 2000 years later, we cannot sympathize with them. And thank God for that, because we know Easter Sunday happened. Knowing about Sunday, it's hard to be sad about Friday. 

"Good Friday", it's called. The day Jesus was violently murdered. Why do we call it "good"? 1 John 2:2 (NCV) says: "He died in our place to take away our sins, and not only our sins but the sins of all people." Good Friday is truly good because the blood of Jesus from His seven wounds washes away our sin. It is the payment for the sin of all humanity, even you and me. A few years ago I heard a message from a pastor named Jon Courson, who talked about the five places from which Jesus' blood flowed.

First, blood flowed from His head. The blood from the thorns driven into His skull cleanse us from thoughts we wish we had never thought. The blood that poured down His face tell us He has covered the things in life we don't want to face up to. It washes our eyes from the sinful things we've seen, our ears from the sinful things we've heard, and our mouths from the sinful things we've said and done with our mouths.

Second, blood that flowed from His back. We've all turned our backs on Jesus at some point, and the blood that covered His back on that Good Friday covers our backs when we turn them on Him. When we've fallen flat on our backs, whether out of sin or fatigue, our backs are covered and cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

Third, blood flowed from His hands which were pierced with spikes, pinned to the wood of the cross. That blood cleanses us from the things we've used our hands for which we should not have done. The things we've touched, felt, grasped, held in our hands that were sinful - the blood flowed from His nail-pierced hands in order to cleanse our hands from sin and guilt.

Fourth, blood flowed from inside of Him when the Romans thrust a spear into His side, piercing Jesus' heart, sending a mixture of blood and water out of His side. So the things you feel inside of you - those gut feelings of hatred and bitterness and anger, that unforgiveness you hold in your heart - that sin inside of you and me is washed clean by the blood that flowed from inside of our crucified Lord.

Fifth, blood flowed from the precious feet of Jesus. We've all walked where we shouldn't have walked, physically and spiritually speaking. We've secretly gone places in the darkness of night that we hope no one ever finds out about. We've tried to cover our tracks from those sinful wanderings, yet the blood of Christ that flowed from His feet doesn't just cover over but washes away those tracks. 

As we think about where blood flowed from Jesus' body on that cross, we see that the placement of His wounds was not accidental or haphazard, but strategic and intentional. We see there is deep meaning in His wounds, and the Scripture of Isaiah 53:5 (NCV) comes alive to us when it says: 

"He was hated and rejected by people. He had much pain and suffering. People would not even look at Him. He was hated, and we didn't even notice Him. But He took our suffering on Him and felt our pain for usWe saw His suffering and thought God was punishing Him. But He was wounded for the wrong we did; He was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to Him, and we are healed because of His wounds."

The wounds of Jesus Christ cover over us, head to toe, front to back, inside and out. We are cleansed from our sin, guilt, and shame every which way because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

As the old hymn goes: "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"


Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog. It is truly harmonious and calming to read your blog when you preach about our Lord. Thanks!

Ariel said...

Well thanks, that's very kind! Praise God.