Sunday, February 17, 2013

Love Written in Blood

This message was delivered on Valentine’s Day to the inmates at Bugembe Prison.

A train derailed killing 11 people and injuring over 200 more. After regaining consciousness, John Phillips found himself pinned in the wreckage and lying in a pool of his own blood. Fearing his death, he scrawled a message on the upended train seat right above him. Using his own blood he wrote, “I [heart symbol] my kids. I [heart symbol] Leslie.” The rescue team was so moved when they found the message they had to get that train seat to his wife and kids. (True Story)

There’s another moving love story written in blood, the story of Jesus’ love for a lost world. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he have his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just like John Phillips’ story, we have symbols to remind us of Jesus’ love too – the bread and wine (John 20:54-56).

Jesus’ blood shows the depth of that love for us. I know about a husband whose wife left him and moved in with another man. That husband took on the roll of both father and mother, he did all the housework, he paid the bills, and he waited for his unfaithful wife to return…most importantly, he prayed for her. After living with this other man for over a year, she decided she wanted to come home. That husband gladly welcomed his wife back. When friends asked him why, he said, “Jesus doesn’t quit me no matter how I treat him. The least I can do is try to treat my wife the same way.” Hosea was an Old Testament prophet who modeled the love of God for his people.

Jesus’ blood shows proof of that love for us. The Old Testament tells about a system of blood sacrifices – lambs, bulls, goats. Those sacrifices were required to cleanse people of their sin. Hebrews 9:22 says, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” Jesus’ became our once and for all sacrifice by shedding his blood on the cross. We no longer have to meet some standard of law to be clean.

Jesus’ blood shows the promise of God’s love. Jesus’ sacrificial love affected our whole future. Someone once said, “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.” John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave…” He gave… God gave his son as a sacrifice so that our whole future would be affected. That sacrifice gives us a deeper relationship with our God. That sacrifice brings a fuller friendship with our God. That sacrifice brings a profitable partnership. This relationship, this friendship, this partnership will never disappoint us. Our whole future was changed.

John Philipps’ and his family will never forget the message written in his own blood. Men, there is someone who has written a message of love for you in his own blood too. Will you accept Jesus as your own? Will you accept his sacrifice of love?  Will you allow this Valentine’s Day mark the day in history when your whole future changed?

More than 20 men in Bugembe Prison stood inside that small sleeping room with concrete walls. With tears in their eyes, they stood to receive Jesus and to receive the Valentine message of love that He gave just for them.