This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15 KJV
We go every week to church on Sunday morning, take communion and spend time worshipping with our brothers and sisters, but I confess that on Sunday night I love to watch a show with the questionable title; “Highway Through Hell!” In spite of how it sounds, this program is not about sinful lifestyles with sketchy scenes, but rather about a hardy bunch of Canadian tow-truck operators. I especially enjoy the watching these guys go out into the worst possible winter weather to rescue tractor trailers tipped over and stuck in several feet of snow. After working out in similar conditions for years cutting trees, I can really identify with these guys. I can still feel my own frozen hands when I see them hook up their cables working hard, to get these big rigs back on the road. One of my favorite highlights of the show is their catchphrase, “on the highway through hell – closure is NOT an option!” My wife rolls her eyes every time they say this with me chiming in at the beginning of each episode!
While I do not watch these rescues for their spiritual content; they do remind me of God’s work in our lives. In today’s scripture the Apostle Paul responds to critics of his past sinful lifestyle, by agreeing wholeheartedly with them. He tells them that yes he was indeed a sinner and in fact the worst sinner of all. But then he goes on to point out that God sent Jesus to the cross because He was in the business of rescuing sinners. Just like many of us, Paul had veered off life’s road and gotten jammed up in the snow drifts of sin. But then He remind us that we can have hope – no matter how big a wreck we have made in our lives – because Jesus went out into the worst possible conditions to die on the cross for our sins. Today, the power of the blood of Jesus is far greater than any heavy equipment on my favorite show, because He not only pulls us to safety but He completely restores smashed up lives and sets us upright on our wheels, headed in the right direction. By God’s amazing mercy, we are no longer on a Highway through Hell but on His Highway that leads to Heaven. Now with Jesus behind the wheel of our life it is more true than ever that “Closure is not an option!”
Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. Matthew 27:38 KJV
The day Jesus was crucified was the most horrible day of our Savior’s life. He had prayed and released Himself to the Father’s will, now, soldiers, guards and corrupt leaders seemingly were in control. Yet before He was led away, Jesus wanted to make one thing clear to His disciples:
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. John 10:17-18a ESV
Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and He knew who He would meet that day. He was keeping an appointment with a thief. Neither nails nor a crown of thorns stopped the thief from seeing who Jesus was. Where soldiers saw a victim and the other thief pitiful person worthy of mockery, he saw a merciful King. Because of his faith and his humble appeal to be remembered, the thief received a guarantee of heaven better that anyone else in the Bible “Today you will be with Me. In paradise!”
Are you feeling defeated and forgotten by God? Has tragedy or failure unexpectedly struck your life leaving you helpless to respond? Do not give up or give in to despair. Nothing happens to us by accident and we are never beyond the reach of the hands of Jesus. If He willingly took the nails, and the cross to reach one thief He will not abandon you today. He is near and willing to receive you if you are ready to keep your appointment with the Savior today!
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 ESV
Recently we enjoyed watching the old film, “Annie” She reminds me a lot of my early life, when I was living on the streets. Of course you do not need to be homeless to want someone to rescue you, love you and be willing to include you in their family. The story of Annie could be the story of every person looking for God. When I first became a Christian, the song, “Are You washed in the Blood?” was popular in our church. I loved it because it was lively and easy to sing, and it expressed the joy I had in my new found life. It is strange to think of blood washing something, because as anyone who does laundry can tell you, blood stains are some of the hardest to remove. Even when bleach or other cleaners are used, they still show up under ultraviolet light. But God doesn’t do things according to our way of thinking. In His plan, the blood of Jesus Christ is the perfect cleansing solution for the sin stains on our hearts. But how does it work? How can the blood of Jesus wash away my sin?
Today’s verse explains that we have to begin by walking in the light. In other words we must be honest with God. We need to come to God without pretending and confess our sins to Him. He knows the truth anyway and sent Jesus to die so that we could be forgiven. Secondly we learn that when we are honest with God, we can begin to walk with Him. Since God always tells us the truth, if we will tell Him the truth, we begin our new journey with Him. Last of all the Bible tells us that walking with God means more than just trying to keep up with him like a toddler rushing after His parent. It means having fellowship with Jesus Christ. He is the one whose blood washed away our sin because He wanted us as His children and friends forever. Since we have His promise that He wants to have a relationship with Him, what are we waiting for? As we drove home recently through rural South Carolina we noticed a sign on a small church with a great question:
“Mosquitoes know there is power in the blood. Do you?”
Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow’r? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you washed in the blood, In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb? Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are You Washed in the Blood? by Elisha Hoffman 1878
I hope you like this throw back video of Earl Scruggs playing it the way I learned it back in the day. Be blessed, tap your feet and sing along!!