30 July 2022 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
(Isaiah 45:22: all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
The tragedies and themes revealed in Holy Writ are often mimicked in such classical works as those of Shakespeare, especially in the play of MacBeth. Lady Macbeth, complicit in the murder of King Duncan, is tortured by a growing and uncontrollable guilt. She discovers an imaginary (?) blood spot on her hand and is obsessed by her guilt. She washes, repeatedly, those hands that were complicit in the shedding of innocent blood – the blood of King Duncan. She declares, “Out damn spot!” but she declares that the stain of murder will not leave her tortured hand and heart. The guilt will not go away any more easily as that of Pontius Pilate who washed his hands of the guilt of betraying another great King – the King of Kings – Jesus Christ. She is beset by the most gruesome nightmares. And like Judas, her guilt eventually destroys Lady MacBeth in self-murder. The sinner is incapable of undoing his guilt – only Christ can do that!
Lady MacBeth was wrong about the blood spot – there is One who is able to wash away the guilt and grant mercy to the broken and contrite heart. Unfortunately, this is never the resort of the prideful wicked. I like the words of that old Gospel hymn, “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.” Truer words were never written by man, but they simply echo the deep meaning of the Gospel of Christ!
The Great Red Dragon of the Revelations of John is not of recent or future consideration only. He was in Eden as the Serpent of the Tree, and has been the great liar and deceiver of all nations and peoples since. His one goal is to destroy the man that God had made. This he will do, if possible, by casting aspersions on the Word of God, on the Holy Estate of Matrimony between one man and one woman, of glorifying perversions of every imagination, of trying to give legitimacy to the murder of the most innocent among us (our children), of justifying needless and endless wars, of famine, disease, and chaos!
We are to look unto Christ for the healing balm and redemption made available in His blood sacrifice at Calvary! When Israel rebelled in the Wilderness, God sent deadly and fiery serpents (known by the French Foreign Legionnaires as, fer de lance, lance of fire) and gave specific instruction to Moses that pointed to the greater healing of the disease of sin. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Numbers 21:8-9) The brazen serpent was actually an antitype of the Serpent of Eden – it had no poison (sin) to harm, only to heal. That pointed to the sinless Christ on the cross for our sins. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
Had the healing mercies of Christ been made known to Lady MacBeth, her life would not have ended in pain, suffering and eternal tragedy. By His tripes are we healed. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Every reader of this devotion, and its author as well, is at least as guilty as Lady MacBeth. We have blood on our hands though we wielded not the butcher’s hand directly. We have sinned in our silence and in our hearts and minds against evil in our day. We cannot wash away the stain, but the Lord is merciful to forgive and to restore if we, as a nation and people, pray, repent, and turn from our evil machinations.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter) Let us each “Look unto Christ!”