Monday, September 12, 2011
Let His Blood Be On Us and On Our Children!
Matthew 27:24-26 (ESV) So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves."  And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"  Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. “I am innocent of this man’s blood…. And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do."  And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.  And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord.  And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar.  Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient."  And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words." (Exodus 24:3-8 (ESV) You see this passage with Pilate wiping his hands clean, and the people screaming for the blood to be on them, it is quite paradoxical. The people are in a frenzy and they don’t really know what they are asking for. They are asking for the right thing though. They need this blood to be on them and on their children. Pilate, he’s got it wrong. He wants to claim innocence for the death of Christ. How often do we not desire the same. We want to claim our innocence. It just doesn’t work that way. What we really need is blood. Let his blood be on us and our children. Indeed it is in so many ways. Moses through the blood on the people as a way of incorporating all of them into the covenant God made with them. The blood was their salvation. It’s amazing what an important role blood plays in the Old Testament. The innocent sacrifice covers the guilt of the people with his blood. Of course the people don’t know that Jesus is innocent. You and I, and everyone who tries to live by the law, would be guilty of throwing Christ on the cross for his transgressions, they demanded death. Perhaps we don’t take blasphemy that seriously these days. One takes blasphemy as seriously as one takes God. Most don’t take God seriously today. It is a blight on our culture by the way, that one cannot even be bothered to examine their own beliefs concerning God because everyone buys into the myth that it just doesn’t matter. You have Piper talking of baptism, as a Baptist no less, as if it doesn’t really matter at all if you were baptized as a child or as an adult. To him, baptism just doesn’t matter. And he is a leader in the church? Really? I’d rather have a Baptist that believed what he preached and stood with a backbone. Though I think they are seriously demented too. Baptism matters. But we make it all about what we believe, as if our belief has any bearing on reality. I’d rather live with people who took the word seriously as the Pharisees did. They were wrong, but at least they were also sincere about it. They understood that if Jesus was not God, then he was a blasphemer and for that he needed to die. They cried for his blood, it was what the law told them to do. In this case, Jesus was innocent. He went to the cross, he died on the cross. His blood? Now they stay away from it. Jesus is willing to let it be on us and on our children, on all of us who are guilty, should we only fess that we are guilty. We cannot wipe our hands clean as Pilate tried to do. If Pilate thought the man innocent he had an obligation to put down the riot with force, not cave in to its demands. Claim your innocence of his blood and it will not be upon you. Claim it, and it will be, and that is where you want it, because the blood of Jesus doesn’t condemn, but absolves those upon whom it falls, you and your children, who are washed clean with the blood of the lamb in Holy Baptism. The blood of the innocent victim, the innocent sacrifice, it covers it atones for the sins of the world. It is the blood of a new covenant, a Testament, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.