July 25, 2008

The Red Letter Bible

The Red Letter Bible

and His name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13

Name – If you want to know the end, you must start that the beginning. John’s apocalyptic vision of the return and judgment of the Lord is unintelligible without the Hebrew Scriptures. A name is never just at name. A name is the essence of the being named. A name reveals position and power. A name uncovers destiny. So, when John tells us that the coming, glorious Messiah is named The Word of God, he is not just referring to his own gospel. He is telling us that the Messiah is the very essence of God revealed as creator, sustainer and ultimate goal of everything. The name of Yeshua is The Word of God. That’s not just a title. That’s who He is. Everywhere you find the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, you will find Yeshua.

Does that give you spiritual chills? It should. Can you imagine what it means to say that the Word of God became a human being; that the breath of God capable of bringing worlds into existence actually walked around on our planet? Do you realize that all God revealed to us about Himself was exhibited in Yeshua? No wonder He could say, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” To know Him is life. How could it be otherwise? He’s God! We can all shout Hallelujah!

But our excitement will be tempered when we read the preceding verse. It tells us that this One whose name is “The Word of God” comes dressed in a garment dipped in blood. Don’t ignore the apparent disconnect. Our returning Lord is a crucified God. The reason His clothing is dipped in blood is us. We are the ones who required that blood-stained garment. All of the sacrifices since the first time God slaughtered an animal to provide second skin for Adam and Eve have been previews of the crucified God. The essential character of God is “dipped in blood.” You might not like that imagery, but it’s our reality. That’s why God instructed us to participate in the blood sacrifices. We are to have a visceral, physical experience of what it means for the innocent and holy to die for the guilty. The bloodline of the Bible is not human progeny. It is divine compassion.

Imagine what this means for you and me. If God’s essential character is His Word – His power and glory – clothed in blood, and we are called to conform to His image, then our lives must honor the bloodline. We are to step into the place of the crucified God. We are to love our enemies, become peacemakers, bear the burdens of others, lay down our lives if necessary. The operating principle of redeemed living is blood sacrifice. You might think that it was all over when Jesus died on the cross. You’re right. He completed the work necessary to adopt you into the line. But it doesn’t stop there. Now you are born from above. Now you are a child of the King. Now you share in the task of bringing the red letter Bible to the rest of humanity. And it can’t be accomplished without spilling out our lives.

Wherever we operate in a protection mode, we work against the red letter God. Wherever we think first of our safety, our needs, our accumulation of goods and services, we remain antiseptically distant from the bloodline of the Bible. If the name of the Savior is dipped in blood, how can we pretend that our lives shouldn’t bleed?


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