Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Let His Blood Be On Us

As Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified, he washed his hands of the matter, wanting to remain innocent. The people's response, recorded in Scripture for all eternity, was damning: "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25)

As I read those words again recently, I was struck by the irony, the promise, the prayer that their evil cry contains. Christ's blood is on us--not just the Jews who called for His death, but each of us who sins, who chooses again and again to glorify himself instead of his Creator. The only reason Jesus had to die was because we were sinners. So His blood is on our hands--the cross renders a "GUILTY!" verdict for every one of us.

And those who believe, the words contain a promise: His blood be on us. Because Christ died, we can be reconciled to the Holy God. "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22)--but "by means of His own blood," shed on the cross for us, "he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. ...Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant" (Hebrews 9:12,15).

If we trust Him to save us--if we place our faith in His righteousness and not our own merit--His blood is on us. "It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that [we] were redeemed from the empty way of life...but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Peter 1:18-19). And so the angry cry of those who called for His crucifixion becomes our humble plea. We have no hope, no claim before God other than, "Let His blood be on us!" And when this is our plea, our shame and guilt are covered by His perfect obedience and sinless death. His righteousness is ours.

Because we are sinners, His blood is on us. Yet because we trust Him to save us, His blood is on us. What a merciful God we serve!

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