Song for Today: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Are You Washed in the Blood by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1878.

Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Observe: It seems odd that a garment could become white as snow by being washed in blood, but Hoffman is not attempting an “April Fools” joke. Instead, he expresses the biblical truth that the shed blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross has the power to cleanse completely the sin despoiled clothes of our soul.

The truth of cleansing by blood was deeply ingrained in the worship of God’s people. When God freed Israel from slavery in Egypt, the convincing blow was the death of the firstborn throughout Egypt. The firstborn in every family, human and beast, died that night, except those families who, by faith, applied the Passover lamb’s blood with hyssop to the doorposts and lintel of their home. Seeing the blood that signified the inhabitants were ‘covered’ by God’s grace, ‘cleansed by blood’ God’s angel of death passed over that home and spared their firstborn (Exodus 12:22).

When King David’s sin with Bathsheba and his complicity in the death of her husband was placed before him by Nathan, the prophet, his cry recalled the cleansing of hyssop and the Passover blood. “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:3, 7, ESV).

As Jesus was nearing death on the cross, John writes that Jesus took from a sponge filled with sour wine that was raised to him on a stalk of hyssop. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30; cf. Ga 4:4).

John identifies Jesus on the cross at Golgotha as the reality that fulfills the shadow of the first Passover lamb. Beginning with the unblemished Passover lamb, David’s cry for cleansing at the midpoint, to the end of the need for blood brought cleansing by God’s Son, it has always been hyssop and blood, bitter herb, and sweet cleansing blood. The picture is complete with the bitter cross which Jesus faced with joy, tasting, even then, the sweet redemption he was bringing.

Hoffman’s question is before you today.

1. Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

We all remain hopeful that our time apart will end soon as we pray for God’s protection and mercy. God hears our prayers because they are wrapped in the righteousness of our advocate and redeemer. Hoffman’s fourth verse is appropriate.

4 Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!

Are you fully trusting in his grace this hour? The only sure and unchanging hope is to answer “Yes.”

Blessings and happy April first,

Pastor Don 


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