I want you to enter into a thriller novel with me for just a minute. Imagine, you hear a knock at your door and when you open it there is a man there, slumped against your doorframe, very near death. He sees you open the door and with a sense of relief he speaks your name and says that he has travelled far to give this to you. Reverently placing a book in your hands you notice it is covered in his blood. The man explains with his last breaths that he was dying, suffered many hardships, was shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned and tortured all so you could have this book in your hands and with those words he dies on your doorstep but you notice a sense of peace on his face as he passes away.
What would your first impressions be of this book, past the initial shock and terror of what just happened? After the ambulances, police and coroner have all gone away and you are sitting in your living room quietly looking at the blood stained book on your coffee table. I would be intrigued and fascinated but wary. On one hand I would have the sense this book contained a message that was so important this man would die so I could receive it. I would also nervously think that if someone was willing to hurt and torture this man because of this book then the very same thing could happen to me. But being a critical thinking person you might also have the thought this was all a bit of a hoax, the ravings of some lunatic and a Don Quixote kind of mission, though even Don Quixote didn’t suffer like the man on your doorstep did.
Now take this man who perished on your doorstep to give you this book and look behind him and you see maybe 7,000 men, women and children all who were pushing him forward to get to your doorstep, all of whom died in one horrible way or another for that same book. As you continue to look back you realize that this has been happening for years and that over the past ten years the number of men, women and children dying so that book could be placed in your hands completely fills the seats at the First Energy Stadium in Cleveland. Now this blood stained book takes on a completely new perspective, no longer can you delude yourself and believe this is a single Don Quixote moment, a delusional man with a mythical mission, over 70,000 people in 10 years simply do not die for a mythical kind of quest just to give to you, an unknown stranger in the West, this blood-stained book.
Looking even further back through time and place, the numbers stop making sense any more, 1 stadium filled, 3 stadiums filled, 30 stadiums and countless more filled with men, women and children martyred to bring this blood stained book to you; then you go beyond the stadiums and start to see the individual plight of the people, murdered execution style on a college campus or in a mall, crucified on woods beams, strangled with barb wire, ripped apart by wild beasts, hung on poles and set afire, these stories and more as you begin to realize with horror that this blood stained book was not carried to you by one single man, as horrible as his suffering and plight was, but upon an ocean of blood willingly given so you, you could have this blood stained book in your hands.
Looking even farther back in this ocean of blood, there is one death on a cross that brings it all together, from which this ocean of blood finds it’s source and indeed the blood of this one death flows through all of it to you. One death, countless deaths, all so you could have this blood stained book.
This dangerous book that has been banned, burned, ripped, sliced apart and stomped upon, still remains and has not suffered loss. Will you leave it on a shelf, walk away from it, pretend you never even saw the man and his blood stained book, put it all up to a delusion there’s much better reality on TV I could be watching instead. But this dangerous book will have its way with you one way or the other, just like it has had its way with all of those countless people that died to bring it to you, it certainly changed their lives and gave to them something worth living and dying for. Whether it opens you up now and performs its work upon you or it opens you up later after the disease has run its course and reveals what was already there and killing you, this dangerous book will open you up, you cannot get away from something this powerful that is carried to you on an ocean of blood.
Something this powerful, this dangerous, doesn’t come from us, from our own heads, our own imagination, but it happens to us, it changes us, it transforms us, in ways we can never do on our own. Behind these dangerous pages is something far greater it is the very Words of God that have been from the beginning and will be forever more. The Word of God that is sharper than any two-edged sword, the very will and intentions of the creator of all things for you to be transformed by His Word and to live today by His Word and to live eternally through His Word. These blood stained pages are a record of just that, how this powerful and dangerous Word lives inside, changes and transforms everyone and everything, these pages are the testament of that powerful Word at work in the world and it’s blood stained pages are in your hands now.
Thinking about all of this, I would have to, need to open this book, read its pages, hear the message, learn what was so precious that might become just as precious to me, that I would willingly, even gratefully undergo the same fate just to give these words to someone else.
These words were written so you might believe that Jesus is the Savior, the Son of the living God and in believing have life in His name.