From: T.M. Schoewe
Whenever you have a serious reason to go to the doctor, you will find after taking your temperature and listening to your heart, he will order some blood drawn from your arm. And when the six or so tubes of blood come back from the lab, it is with a wonderful revelation about your life, all of which is found in your blood. The test results of your blood tell the doctor about your vitals, your kidneys, your liver, about the blood flowing in your veins, whether or not you are iron deficient or your blood sugar is high or low or your electrolytes are off. So your physical life is really in your blood, which tells your doctor how to deal with you. This is a great and mighty wonder!
There is another “great and mighty wonder” in the Word that says “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.” And it is precisely this prescription of blood by which the Doctor of doctors has saved humanity. Your spiritual life, it is in His blood.
Tucked in the 18th chapter of Dr. Luke’s gospel is a one-time-told parable of the two men that went into the temple to pray. The one man, a Pharisee, prayed about himself and told about himself to God, of all the things he did like fasting and tithing, etc.
He exalted himself before God and expressed his thanks that he was not like other people. The other man was a publican (a known sinner). He simply prayed “God be merciful” to me; or rather in the Greek, “God be propitiated” to me. He is saying there is no sacrifice, nor gift from man, that can appease the wrath of God; the only propitiation that could be acceptable to God and reconcile the publican to Him had to be made by God Himself.
And this is the reason that God the Son, Jesus Christ, came into the flesh; to be the propitiation for the sins of the people. So the publican prayed, “God be propitiated for me,” “be merciful to me!” This is what Jesus accomplished through His suffering, death, and the shedding of His blood on the cross. What the Old Testament sacrifices of blood-shedding taught people, was that “without the shedding of blood” there is no forgiveness. But the sacrifices that man made in order to appease God were actually not enough and it took Jesus’ crucifixion to serve as the final sacrifice to end all other blood-shedding and ensure mankind’s forgiveness. This is why we should either begin or close our prayers by remembering what the cross means!
We have a bit of an aversion to shiny silver or gold crosses which sometimes are even ornately decorated, only because they might wipe out or gloss over the suffering that Jesus endured on the cross. For this reason in younger years we copied Uncle Robert’s peach pit crosses. They are somewhat jagged and help us remember it was not a smooth operation but a rugged ordeal for Jesus; and that from His head, hands, side, feet and heart, flowed what it took to ensure God’s forgiveness and our reconciliation with Him.
P.S. Getting old and finding it not possible to do many things, we think maybe we will return to making some crosses out of peach pits.