AWE . . . I don’t know how describe it more than that word. I’m in total and overwhelming awe this week as I take some time and consider the day-to-day events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Each morning this week I’ve awakened and thought back to 2,000 years ago. What was it like when Jesus raised his head each morning and went into Jerusalem knowing it was the final days of his earthly life? From Palm Sunday, just 4 days ago, as he entered the East Gate of the Temple Mount on a donkey, foretold about 600 years earlier in scripture. The day before, in Bethany, just across the Kidron Valley, Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead. What the followers must have experienced seeing Jesus in the Holy City this week.
It was Passover week, Jews from all over the world were coming into Jerusalem for the annual Passover celebration. What were they bringing with them? . . . Their finest lambs: perfect lambs for sacrifice at the temple for the atonement of their sins, just as God’s Law, written by Moses, required. Think about it, blood atoned for sin. Blood: blood forgives sin. And there was a lot of it in Jerusalem at this time. According to a variety of biblical historians, there were between 60,000 and 150,000 lambs sacrificed this week as the population of Jerusalem exploded for Passover. First century Jewish historian Josephus actually reported the population grew to over 2 million people. (Now, that can be argued, but, no matter what, there was a lot of animal blood shed at the temple this week.) Did you know there was actually a drain and gutter system in the temple to direct the animal blood out of the city to the stream in the Kidron valley where it could be flushed with rainwaters out of the area? This stream goes all the way to The Dead Sea.
Think about this for a minute. If you were Jewish and you sinned, which was everyone, you would have to go to Jerusalem once per year and offer a blood sacrifice so you could make amends with God. Your bar was reset, through animal blood, until you sinned again. Then you loaded up the family and trekked back to the temple the next year with another unblemished lamb to reset your bar . . . again, and again, and again . . . (I get tired just thinking about it.)
Now, think about this . . . Jesus knew, as he was coming through that gate, also known as the Golden Gate, during Passover, that He would be sacrificed . . . for our depravity, so we could be one with the Father. Through one sacrifice, one time, for all time. He knew this as he was riding in on that donkey as admirers covered the road in front of him with palm fronds.
Depravity? (To be without, corrupt, wickedness) So many people who say they are Christians have trouble with this word. Yes, friend, you were born into this world, your mother pushed you out of her womb, into a depravity that was sealed by the fall of Adam. You are a part of that depravity, separated from God. Without God. You spend a good portion of your life swimming upstream and struggling through that depravity. Yes, you may have success in life; excel at things, be a nice person, etc. But you are not one with God. The day Adam used his free will, took that bite and disobeyed God, he realized he was naked and apart from the Lord. Adam sealed you into his sinful depraved identity.
Fortunately for us, the Lord always had a plan for us to be one with him. He looked at Satan after Adam took the bite and sentenced Satan to a life of slithering on the ground. The Lord then told Satan of his plan. It was a promise he kept for all of us. The promise that he was sending someone, HIS SON, to right the wrongs, deceit and depravity that Satan helped ensure through Adam. He promised that someone was coming. Satan did not know who it was, where or when it would be. But God promised He was coming. (See Genesis 3) Through God’s law, delivered to Israel by Moses, we knew it would take this person’s blood to remove the sin and depravity so those who believed in HIM would have eternal life. Until then, the blood shed of animals, according to the Law delivered by Moses, would set the expectations for the atonement of sins.
Then, two thousand years ago, that person, JESUS arrived. “God sent his only son . . .” A person that was unblemished by sin, his body was slashed beyond recognition and hung on a cross, so his blood would serve as the one time, for all time, sacrifice for sin for ALL who believe in Him. Through Jesus you are convicted of your depravity, your sin and your hopelessness of being one with God on your own or by your own efforts. You’re convicted of your need for Him and His blood to wash you clean so that you can rise, just like he did three days later and be seated with Him in the heavenly places. All because of Jesus’s blood and resurrection. You are not depraved anymore. You are now ONE WITH GOD.
My question for you this Easter week is, do you know and believe this with all of your heart? Do you realize your depravity and the need for Jesus? Do you feel trapped on the merry-go-round of trying to perform well in this world and managing through on your own, only to discover it’s just not working for you? I urge you to consider your only alternative, Jesus Christ. His blood shed and resurrection served as the most powerful events in the history of the world. All part of God’s plan, to bring us as one to the Father through His son’s blood. One time, for all time.
Have you had this revelation? If so, continue to dive deep and grow in the knowledge of how your identity changed upon that revelation. You were born again, saved, you went from sinner to saint, from being “in Adam” to being “in Christ”, the instant you believed on Jesus for your salvation. That’s how powerful his blood was.
If you haven’t had that revelation yet, I’d love to share with you my story of how Jesus’s blood changed my life, so you can know the hope that is to come when you let go and believe in Him as well. It will be the most awe-inspiring moment you will ever experience. Yes, you too will experience the total and overwhelming AWE of our Lord!
Have an amazing Easter with your families and friends as we celebrate the weekend that changed the world forever. I love you all.