On November 26, 2008 a gang of Islamic terrorists stormed the historic Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, India. In the bloodshed and carnage, two-hundred lives were ended and hundreds of others were wounded. One group used a piano to block the doors of a hotel restaurant as terrorists tried to blow their way in with hand grenades and AK-47s. Others survived by barricading themselves in hotel rooms, where they were able to communicate with each other and monitor the rescue operation using smartphones.
However, one man who emerged from that terrible experience shared his amazing survivor story. An Indian-born English actor, Joey Jeetun, described how he and some friends were eating dinner in the hotel restaurant when they heard gunshots. Someone grabbed Joey and pulled him under the table. The assassins came striding through the restaurant, shooting at will, until everyone (or so they thought) had been killed.
Joey recalled, “After about five minutes the shooting stopped and I opened my eyes. There were dead people next to me who had been shot in the head.” Somehow, Joey was miraculously alive. After his rescue, an interviewer asked Joey “How was it that everyone at your table and in the room was dead, and yet you were alive?” Joey’s answer was amazing, “I suppose it’s because I was covered in someone else’s blood, and they took me for dead.”
Those words echo what the Lord spoke to Moses the night he would set Hebrew slaves free from Egypt. He told them to spread the blood of slaughtered lambs around the doorposts of the houses, because that night the death angel would pass over Egypt. “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike and when I see the blood I will pass over you” (Ex. 15:12-13).
That blood prefigured the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). As the apostle Peter wrote, “You were redeemed . . . with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).What happened to Joey is a fitting metaphor of God’s gift through Jesus Christ to each one of us. Because He paid the penalty for our sin—because we are covered in the blood of his sacrifice—we may have eternal life.
This is the message of Good Friday. There on a Roman cross the intersection of God’s love and justice met in a climactic moment. The Sinless One stood in the place of humanity, bearing all our sin and shame. Why blood? Because, life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11) and without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22). Through his Son’s blood spattered Cross, God provided the perfect sacrifice His holiness demanded.
1. Ravi Zacharias, Has Christianity Failed You? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 42.