We crucified Jesus on a stick, but we have always had a curious feeling
that He somehow managed to get hold of the right end of it. (George Bernard Shaw)
Located just thirty minutes from Managua, Nicaragua is Masaya National Park, one of the
most interesting places to visit in Central America. The park includes two volcanoes, the most active being Volcano Santiago whose billowing clouds of smoke can be seen rising into sky from miles away. On one of my visits there, two friends and I hiked to the back side of the burning mountain; from that vantage point beyond the observation deck we could see the molten lava at the bottom of the crater; it was an awesome sight. These volcanoes have erupted several times in history and were feared by both the indigenous people and the Spanish conquerors. The Spanish named the active volcano “La Boca del Infierno” or “The Mouth of Hell.” They planted a cross on the crater lip in the 16th century in order to keep the demons from escaping. The indigenous people believed the deities were angry when a volcano erupted so in order to stop the devastation they would sacrifice their children to these fuming gods.
Sacrifice is a part of our spiritual heritage and both ancient and modern cultures are guilty of abandoning the plain biblical teaching in regarding this issue. Blood is mentioned over 300 times in the Scriptures and is essential to the doctrine of Christ's atonement. It lies at the very heart of the Gospel; for it is through " His blood", that Jesus reconciled us to God. “It was our weaknesses Jesus carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins! But He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).
“It is shallow nonsense to say God forgives us because He is love. The love of God is spelled out on the Cross—no where else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied. The revealed truth of God is that without the atonement (without the blood of Christ) He cannot forgive—He would contradict His nature if He did. When Jesus Christ shed his blood, it was not the blood of a martyr; or the blood of one man for another; it was the life of God poured out to redeem the world” (Oswald Chambers).