2 Samuel 11: 14-17 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front lines where the fighting is the fiercest. Then pull back and leave him exposed so that he’s sure to be killed.” So Joab, holding the city under siege, put Uriah in a place where he knew there were fierce enemy fighters. When the city’s defenders came out to fight Joab, some of David’s soldiers were killed, including Uriah ( MSG) (1)
David realized he was in a pickle after being involved in an inappropriate relationship with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Not wanting to deal with having gotten another man’s wife pregnant, David devised a scheme to trick Uriah into thinking he had fathered the child. When that scheme failed, David engineered a plan that left Uriah and some other soldiers dead. David deliberately sacrificed Uriah’s life to cover up his sins.
St Mark 6: Herod himself had ordered his soldiers to arrest John and put him in prison in order to please his wife, Herodias… 18 John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to be married to your brother’s wife.”19 So Herodias hated John and wanted to kill him. … 21 the perfect time came for Herodias to cause John’s death … 25 At once the girl went back to the king and said to him, “I want the head of John the Baptist right now on a platter.” ( St Mark 6 17-19, 21, 25 NCV ) (2)
John the Baptist told Herod Antipas it was wrong for him to have married his brother’s wife. Herodias was not at all happy with what John said. She grew to hate him and wanted him dead but it seemed she wasn’t able to convince her husband to order his death. Her chance came when Herod made a promise he could not withdraw. The daughter of Herodias had danced so well that Herod promised her whatever she wanted. Coached by her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist. Herod sorrowfully chose to honor his words and issued the death order. John the Baptist was sacrificed to cover-up the sin of Herod and his wife.
St John 10:17-18 The Father loves me because I give my life so that I can take it back again. No one takes it away from me; I give my own life freely. I have the right to give my life, and I have the right to take it back. This is what my Father commanded me to do. (NCV) (3)
Christ came in the flesh knowing He would die to save mankind. He willingly came, He willingly died. The road to the cross was a painful one. The conditions surrounding His arrest, trial and sentencing have been described as unfair, illegal and merciless, yet He took the sin of mankind upon Himself, facing Calvary’s hill on our behalf. The Scriptures record a painful picture of what He went through. Jesus being very God and very man at the same time knew the horrendous physical torture He would have to endure in His innocent state but still He went to the cross for us. Jesus willingly gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice for every last one of our sins.
It seemed Uriah didn’t have a chance. The poor man was unaware that he was the bearer of a letter containing instructions for his death. His blood was shed to cover David’s error in Judgement. Herodias and her daughter may have silenced John the Baptist’s tongue but they knew He spoke the truth. Killing him did not erase anyone’s sin or redeem anyone’s past. When Jesus gave His life that first Good Friday, He died to give us eternal life – all we have to do is accept (John 3:16). He took the road we could not travel to give us the freedom we could not earn. His sacrifice brought us regeneration, sanctification and justification. He gave us a fresh start and wiped the slate clean.
As we head towards the celebration of His death and resurrection, I am challenged to spend some time in quiet reflection each day. As you eat and drink, would you pause with me to remember the Blood and Body that were sacrificed for our sins? Mortal kings don’t always make the right decisions but what He does is well done. Uriah and John the Baptist were both killed as cover-up for the sins of others … Jesus willingly gave His life as a cover-all for our sins. Remembering His sacrifice and sharing His great love with others is a wonderful way to show our appreciation.
Father, there are days I feel like the king has plotted my demise in order to cover up wrongdoings. I go forward not knowing what lies ahead of me but I trust that nothing has escaped You. It is a great temptation to take matters into my own hands but I choose to trust Your design for my destiny as nothing happens to me by chance. The heart of the king is still in Your hands. This king and all kings must bow before Your throne. My body may suffer pain and torture but my life belongs to YOU.
The actions of the king may have caused Jesus to suffer wrong, yet He chose to walk the road for me. I don’t always think how terribly He suffered for me… I confess that there are days my prayer at mealtime is merely thanksgiving for the physical food – I don’t thank You for the Bread of Life as often as I should. Today I thank You over and over again for the plan of redemption. Help me to remember the Sacrifice each time I eat or drink and to be thankful for Your love towards us. I am thankful for the comfort in Ephesians 2:10 – we are saved ‘by grace… through faith’ – I cannot earn my salvation. The blood of Jesus bought my freedom. The fulfillment of the resurrection sealed my hope. I am thankful for the Sacrifice that made me truly Yours. Please help me never to take this for granted.
(2)& (3) “Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
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