Today, we will gain a greater understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as Derek examines and explains how Jesus fulfilled prophecies. There was great purpose in everything that happened to Jesus. His sacrifice for us was complete... and completely powerful... to free us from sin and give us eternal life with Him.
I want to speak to you a little tonight about the blood of Jesus. I feel that something that’s deficient in the contemporary church is an appreciation and an understanding of the blood of Jesus. We have many, many beautiful choruses that we sing that are new, that are anointed, that are a blessing. But generally speaking, when you want to sing a chorus about the blood of Jesus you have to go back about fifty years. To me that represents a tremendous void in the understanding of God’s people.
I’ve preached this in one or two places. I’ve preached this in Jerusalem last summer. And many of you have heard of Merv and Merla Watson, I’m sure, who wrote some of the most beautiful music. Merla went right away that very night and wrote a song about the blood of Jesus. I was so touched by that. Dave and Dale Garrett here in New Zealand heard some of my teaching on a tape and their latest cassette deals with the blood of Jesus. I believe we’re robbing ourselves of something infinitely valuable and powerful if we don’t focus on the blood of Jesus.
I’ll tell you one person who doesn’t want us to focus on the blood of Jesus. That’s Satan. Do you know why? Because we overcome him by what? The blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
I want to turn back to the Old Testament for a preview of the sufferings of Jesus. Basically, I believe that almost everything that happened in the life of Jesus was in some way predicted in the Old Testament. Jesus lived His whole life on earth to fulfill the predictions of the Old Testament scriptures. Eighteen times in the New Testament the writer says about something that happened in the life of Jesus it happened that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. I want to turn to Leviticus 16 which is the ceremony of the Day of Atonement, what the Jewish people call Yom Kippur, which they have observed without a break for 3,400 years. The whole of the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement are a prophetic preview of what Jesus was to do on behalf of the people of God. And the high priest, Aaron., is himself a type, a picture of Jesus. Only once in each year under that particular dispensation was Aaron permitted to enter into the holiest of all. Only on the Day of Atonement. And whenever he went in each year he had to have two things: the blood of the sacrifice and the fragrant cloud of incense from the altar of incense. And the scripture says if he had entered without either of those he would have died instantly.
Here’s a little part of this picture in Leviticus 16, beginning in verse 11:
“And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering which is for himself, and make atonement for himself [atonement is kippur, a covering] and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself. Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil [the second veil].”
Notice he had to enter with blood and with this cloud of fragrant incense which typifies worship.
“And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the testimony, lest he die.”
Had he failed to have that cloud of incense before him covering the mercy seat he would have been struck dead instantly.
And then, what did he do with the blood?
“He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.”
The whole approach to the mercy seat which represented the presence and the throne of God and the holiness of God was stained with blood. The east side of the mercy seat was the side to which Aaron approached. That side of the mercy seat had to be smeared with blood. But before he reached the mercy seat he had to sprinkle the blood seven times on the way from the veil to the mercy seat. You say well, why? Seven is the number of perfection, completeness; it represents the revelation and authority of the Holy Spirit. But more than that, it was a preview of what Jesus was to do in shedding His blood for us. Jesus sprinkled His blood seven times in the atonement.
I want to turn now to the New Testament and very, very briefly point this out to you, the seven-fold sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. You see, when I see the absolute accuracy of the predictions of the Bible, it tremendously strengthens my faith. I realize that God is in total control. Had any person without a prophetic insight watch Jesus the Son of God being abused and struck and beaten and led away, you could have said God’s no longer in control of this situation. Things have got out of hand. But when you look at the prophecies of scripture you’ll see that every single thing that happened to Jesus had been predicted in the word of God centuries beforehand. And no demon and no wicked man could do anything other than that which God had ordained. And brothers, when you and I are in a hard situation and we could be tempted to believe that somehow things are no longer under God’s control, let’s remember that God controls the forces of evil and He will never permit them to do anything other than to what He has ordained. It may be hard to believe it at the time but the faith of Jesus Himself never wavered. He knew in advance from the Old Testament scriptures what He was going to suffer. He plainly warned His disciples and they couldn’t believe it.
The first sprinkling of the blood of Jesus is recorded in Luke 22:44 in the Garden of Gethsemane.
“Being in agony He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like great drops of blood, falling down to the ground.”
That’s the first sprinkling. Then they arrested Him and took Him away to the court of the high priest and they began to mistreat Him, to strike Him. And it says in Matthew 26:67:
“Then they spat in His face and beat Him. And others struck Him with the palms of their hands...”
But if you have the same version that I have, the alternative reading is “with rods.” The Greek word could be interpreted either way. I believe it must have been rods because it was predicted in the Old Testament. Turn to Micah, if you wish, for a moment, chapter 5 and verse 1. Addressed to Jerusalem to the Jewish people:
“Now gather yourselves in troops, O daughter of troops, he has laid siege against us, they will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.”
You see, exactly predicted something like 800 years before it happened. When you strike a man on the cheek with a rod you bring forth blood.
And then He was taken before Pilate. Pilate wanted to release Him but the pressure of the people turned the situation the other way and Pilate gave Him over to be flogged, to be scourged. We look in Matthew 27:26:
“Then Pilate released Barabbas to them, and when he had scourged Jesus he delivered Him to be crucified.”
Now, of course Pilate the governor didn’t actually do the scourging but he caused his Roman soldiers to do it. The Roman scourge was a whip with several thongs of leather and they were studded with pieces of metal or bone so that when they fell across a man’s body they literally tore open his flesh and caused little pieces of flesh to just fly out with the lash.
Now, there’s another aspect to this that isn’t actually stated in the New Testament. I don’t know whether you’ve ever wondered how very succinct and brief the records of the sufferings of Jesus is in the New Testament. They never take any time to dwell on His emotions but when you realize that the Old Testament contains countless predictions of His sufferings, if you turn to those you get some insight into what went on in the mind and heart of Jesus, especially in the psalms of David.