The Water and Blood

11156874_802415433169737_1259842631_n Like every good story, the Bible carries a very accurate portrayal of its Author’s emotions. Since God is the author of the Bible through divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Bible has as much figurative meaning as it does literal. For example, Psalms 23 widely known and loved by the Christian community but very little of the Psalm has literal meaning. The Lord is not our literal shepherd because we are not actual sheep, but because He does take on this metaphorical role we “shall not want” for anything in our lives. Thus through this use of metaphors we can better know the heart of God in any situation of the Bible.

This idea of symbolism and metaphors in the Bible caught my attention this Easter when the preacher read about the crucifixion. Specifically when water and blood came from Jesus’s side after the roman soldiers had pierced it with a spear. It seemed like such an incredibly specific detail yet we continued reading though the passage without an explanation. I had heard of doctors saying this meant Jesus had died from a broken heart, something I would not deny. However, I also believe the Bible to be self-explanatory making the meaning of this something I could find elsewhere in the Bible. So I looked for how water and blood were used in other parts of the Bible.

After looking around for a bit I realized I was specifically looking for flowing blood and flowing water since this is what’s specifically described at the crucifixion. I found that flowing water represents life and the Holy Spirit much like Psalms describes a believer as a tree planted by a river. In contrast however, I found that flowing blood symbolizes death and payment in very much the same way Romans states that the “wages of sin is death”. With these two metaphors we can see just how much God was saying at the crucifixion.

We can see that the crucifixion was indeed the death of Jesus and with his death he paid the price necessary for all our sins. However, the crucifixion was also the beginning of life and the reason we are now able to be baptized in Holy Spirit. Now, I am not saying this is the only thing it can mean but is definitely one of the things it does mean. I am certain there is much more meaning God had in mind for this short description but that is the beauty of it. God will show different things to each of us and expects all of us to share what we find with each other so we can all grow in knowing the heart of God.

So this is my challenge to you, when you come across an overly descriptive detail or something that doesn’t seem to make sense, don’t just read over it. There is probably a whole lot of meaning in it that only needs some time on your part to be discovered. Take the time study it within the context of the rest of the Bible so you can “show thyself approved”. Who knows? God might show you something nobody has ever found before.

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Chag ha-Matzah: A Week Without Bread

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When Adonai brings you into the land … which He swore to your ancestors to give you — a land flowing with milk and honey — you are to observe this ceremony in this month. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread (matzah), and the seventh day is to be a high holy day for Adonai. Unleavened bread is to be eaten throughout the seven days; neither leavened bread (chametz) nor leavening agents are to be seen with you throughout your territory. On that day you are to tell your sons, ‘This is because of what Adonai did for me when I left Egypt.’” — Exodus 13:5-8

Last night marked the end of Chag ha-Matzah (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), a seven-day feast beginning at the end of Passover. During this feast, my family and I observe the above instructions to remove all leaven from our homes, and refrain from eating anything that’s been baked with leaven. This is done in remembrance of the days when Adonai freed His people from Egypt, and also to remember the sacrifice of Messiah. This festival is full of symbolism, which in many ways leads us to recognize and remove areas of sin from our lives as well.

In scripture, leaven is a symbol of sin, and for good reason. The two are alike in many ways. For starters, Galatians 5:9 talks about how a little bit of yeast causes the whole loaf to rise, alluding to the idea that if we allow even a little bit of sin to make its way into our lives, it can ruin all the other wonderful opportunities and blessings that Yahweh wants to give us. Another parallel is that yeast causes things to become “puffed up,” just like sin causes pride in our hearts, which can lead us to reject the well-meant council of our Christian brethren and ultimately turn away from Yahweh’s plan for our lives. Perhaps the most important parallel, though, is that the process of fermentation (which causes bread to rise) is one of death and decay. This means that without the curse of sin (brought on by the fall of Adam), there could be no leavened bread to begin with. By observing this festival and cleaning out our homes of leaven, we’re getting rid of something that wouldn’t be possible if sin and death did not exist in the first place.

For what one earns from sin is death; but eternal life is what one receives as a free gift from Adonai, in union with the Messiah Yeshua.” Romans 6:23

While leaven is a symbol of sin, unleavened bread (or matzah) is a symbol of Messiah. It is a picture of His perfection — His sinless, untainted life — which made it possible for Him to be the “lamb without blemish” for the ultimate Passover sacrifice that would cover the sins of the world. Note that even after Messiah died and was buried, His body did not decay or return to dust as it should have. Instead His death was the one that conquered death, and freed us from captivity to our sin.

You should be aware that the ransom paid to free you from the worthless way of life which your fathers passed on to you did not consist of anything perishable like silver or gold; on the contrary, it was the costly, bloody, sacrificial death of the Messiah, as of a lamb without defect or spot. Adonai knew him before the founding of the universe, but revealed him in the end of times for your sakes.” 1 Peter 1:18-20

Not only is this incredible feast is a great way to grow closer to Yahweh — it also allows us to be witnesses for Him and the set-apart lifestyle He’s called us to live. Often when we’ve gone out to dinner with friends or family during the week of unleavened bread, it’s given us a unique opportunity to explain why we’re abstaining from eating certain things, and ultimately opened up dialogue about why we believe in Messiah.

As much as I love bread (and pretty much all other baked goods!), I also love observing the week of unleavened bread, and celebrating this reminder that through Messiah, we are free from sin and death. I can’t wait to celebrate it again next year. ~

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Death is No More

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Matt Maher – Christ Is Risen
Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely you bled, for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bow to none but heavens will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer’s crown
No burden great can hold you down
In strength you reign
Forever let your church proclaim

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he’s alive! he’s alive!

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death

Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Rise up from the grave…

John 10:17-18

17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

1 Corinthians 15:54-58

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

John 10:17-18

17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Romans 4:23-25

23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

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Empty Words

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We have over used so many words in our culture, just think about how many times we use love, hate, adorable, awesome, amazing, and like, in our everyday experiences.

It’s hard to take a person by their word, because their words carry no weight of conviction.

In a culture that words have lost most of their meaning and promises are void, our actions tend to speak so much louder then they normally would.

How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great. -Bill Bennot

We have opportunities everyday to let our actions speak louder then our words!  We go to school, the library, work, the park, out to eat, (Every day, everywhere we go, we have an opportunity to put Christ on display.)

Some times we do get the chances to speak, but our culture has heard so much of Christ and seen so many hypocrites that our words will many times get pushed aside.

People love to criticizes and point out inconsistency, when our words seem to carry no weight we just have to let Christ do the work, and we live out His love.

Sometimes we do have to realize it’s not them, it’s us, our actions don’t show Christ, therefore our words are of no account.

So what do we do when our words carry no weight?

Well for one, we can all stop using words idly

Not everything is amazing, cool or fabulous. If we used amazing less often, when we said something was amazing, people would realize it really did awe us!

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36

Two, stop just saying, “I’ll do it!” and then not do it

Put some action behind our words, don’t be a sayer, be a doer!

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

James 1:24-25 

 

Three, start with the little things

Simple as that. We say, “I’ll take out the trash.” Then actually do it!

When we make it a habit in the little things, then we’ll also apply it to the big things that effect careers and relationships.

“And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more. ’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” Matthew 25:22-23 

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Also Just a Story

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Like anybody else, I enjoy a good story. I enjoy it any way it is presented, form a painting to a motion picture, from a book to friends telling me something exciting that happened to them. Stories have the ability of taking us away from wherever we are to the point of view of the characters in any place set by the story. Though this is probably the main reason we love to participate in hearing stories it is probably not the most impactful thing that happens to us when we take part in a story. Even if we do not realize it, stories have the incredible ability of allowing the participant to empathize with the author. This empathy allows all of us to see the world though the author’s eyes and understand the author’s life from his or her point of view. Every emotion felt throughout a story is one the author wanted to share and thus makes every situation in a story a metaphor for the author’s life.

Now with that said, I believe that God has written the Bible by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is God’s story to us and though the events may be factual, they are told from His point of view. Every emotion from the Bible tells us how God feels in each situation. These emotions however, can be easily missed when we focus on the details. There is so much literal meaning in the Bible but if we forget that God is trying to show us how he feels, every rule or principal we take from it would be missing the point. He wants to show us how much He loves us and this becomes very clear when the Bible is seen as a metaphor for who he is, how He views us, and how our focus should never leave him.

So as a challenge, I think we all would benefit more from our Bible reading if we read the Bible as any other story. Most church sermons are on just a few verses and in our daily Bible reading we usually don’t get past a few chapters. If we all read the Bible as a complete book we will see so much more of God’s emotion and know his heart when reading. I’m not saying the details are unimportant, they are actually very important but keep in mind that they are still just the fine brush strokes which make up the only masterpiece where we can see the true face and heart of God. Yes, the Bible is a literal book but you can still receive the full benefit by reading it as also just a story.

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