Called to Worship – Issue #5
by Phil Mershon
I will never forget standing outside Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying and Destitute in Calcutta, India. We were there to see how she and the Missionaries of Charity cared for the dying and abandoned.
Calcutta is the epitome of sensory overload. Over 16 million people live there and at least 1 million people live on the streets at night. As I walked the streets, my olfactory senses were overwhelmed by the fumes from open flame fires and unregulated auto emissions blended with food and sewage.
None of that compared to what I experienced outside Mother Teresa’s refuge for the dying and unwanted. Nearby is the temple for Kali, the black goddess of Calcutta, and a place for cremation and daily sacrifices. Smoke filled the air as funeral pyres burned by the Ganges River. The stench of blood mixed with burning flesh was accompanied by the bleating of hundreds of sheep. Sacrifices were being offered to Kali.
Though repulsed by the images and idols of Hinduism, I saw a sign of the Gospel. Only the sacrifice of blood can remove guilt and stain. Man universally understands the high price of sin. And while Kali cannot forgive sin, Jesus can.
1 Tim. 2:5-6 says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
Given enough time to ponder, all mankind knows they are frail and faulty. We have all broken God’s laws and we need a mediator—someone to intervene and reconcile us with God. Jesus is uniquely equipped to do that. He is fully God and man. As God he can relate perfectly to God the Father. As a perfect man he can accept the punishment due others, having no sin of his own.
The good news is that when Jesus’ blood was shed there was no longer a need for sacrifice. We can claim Jesus’ blood as sufficient payment for our sins’ penalty. As some of the hymns claim so powerfully, we can be “washed in the blood.”
A couple of songs help me ponder the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for my sin. There is a Fountain (filled with blood) arranged by Karl Diggerness provides a heartfelt reflection on Christ’s blood. Hillsongs has also delivered a powerful anthem in Lead Me to the Cross.
As you find reminders of your sinfulness today, look to the cross and remember the love that caused Jesus to surrender his blood for your salvation. When he said, “It is finished,” he meant that the price is fully paid. We can’t contribute anything to our salvation.
Father, you see my frenetic attempts to save myself. Have mercy. You see the myriad ways we offer empty sacrifices when Jesus already offered the perfect sacrifice. Lead me to the cross today. Help me see Jesus as my perfect mediator. Amen.