And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His Sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His Head, and a reed in His Right Hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His Own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
The agony Jesus suffered is inconceivable to most people. We'd rather focus on toy crosses than wooden beams, pierced ears than pierced hands--or even the extermination of household pests rather than the extermination of Christians worldwide.
But even today, people are paying the ultimate price to follow Jesus. 'Over 100 million Christians suffer interrogation, arrest, and even death for their faith, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation' (Open Doors USA).
The Bible puts it this way: 'When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?' ' (Revelation 6:9-10).
It's all about true blood. Famous 18th century Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, says:
'The flesh and blood of the Son of Man denote the Redeemer in the nature of man; Christ and Him crucified, and the redemption wrought out by Him, with all the precious benefits of redemption: pardon of sin, acceptance with God, the way to the throne of grace, the promises of the covenant, and eternal life. These are called the Flesh and Blood of Christ, because they are purchased by the breaking of His Body, and the shedding of His Blood.'
The blood of Christ and the blood of His Martyrs have incalculable value in God's Eyes. Even the blood of animals. Even our own blood.
Shall we cheapen it?
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the True Blood series.