Besides air, water, and food, can you name something specific that you must have to live your everyday life?

Can you imagine what your life would become instantly if we could not buy gasoline? Think about it. Can you imagine what would happen if for one month neither you nor anyone you knew had access to any gasoline? Think about everything that could not happen. You would have almost no transportation. You could not drive your car--not to work, or school, or the store. You could not call a cab. How would your life change if the only way that you could go places was to walk or ride a bike?

Suppose that one person controlled every drop of gasoline in the Fort Smith area. This person literally decided who could and could not buy gasoline. He or she also decided how much gasoline each person could buy and what price that person paid. What power would this give this gasoline czar? His or her power would exceed your imagination!

"Wow! The people in the Old Testament surely were fortunate that they did not use gasoline!" In their world there were individuals who did control essential supplies.

  1. There was something as essential to life in the Mediterranean world as gasoline is to life in America.
    1. "What was that?" Olive oil.
      1. "David, you are kidding!" No, I'm not kidding.
      2. Olive oil was so important to daily life that the people who owned the olive presses had power over daily life.
      3. Consider life in Israel as an example of the importance of olive oil.
      4. Olive oil was essential to their religious life.
        1. It was an essential ingredient in their holy anointing oil.
        2. It played an important role in their religious ceremonies--it was among their firstfruit offerings, a part of their meal offerings, and was tithed.
        3. It was a part of the ceremonies for consecrating the priest, for confirming the purification of lepers, and for taking the Nazarite vow.
        4. Olive oil played an essential role in the religious life of Israel.
      5. Olives and olive oil were an essential part of their diet and food preparation.
        1. Fresh olives or pickled olives and bread were a common meal.
        2. It was their oil to mix with foods to be cooked.
        3. It was their cooking oil.
      6. Olive oil was a medicine.
        1. James 5:14 states the sick were anointed with oil.
        2. It was taken internally for digestive disorders.
        3. It was used externally for dry skin, bruises, and cuts. (Remember that the good Samaritan poured oil and wine in the injured man's wounds [Luke 10:34]?)
      7. Olive oil was the fuel for their lamps (their primary source of light at night).
      8. They used olive oil as a hair dressing and used it to make cosmetics.
      9. It was used to anoint the king prior to his taking the throne.
      10. And it was used to anoint the body of a loved one before burial.
      11. In Israel, every day life without olive oil was unimaginable--it gave you light; it cooked your food; it was your medicine; it pampered the body; it made religious life possible; and it was a part of funerals.
    2. Where did they get olive oil?
      1. "That's a dumb question! From olives!"
      2. How? By crushing the olives, and then pressing the crushed olives to yield the oil.
        1. A heavy rolling stone was used to crush them in a huge rock trough.
        2. A heavier stone was used to press the oil out of them.
      3. Literally, crushing and pressing olives gave people the oil of life.

  2. When God explained the Savior to Israel, God used the olive.
    1. In Isaiah 53 God used four images taken from their common life to explain the most important thing that God ever would do for people.
      1. These were the four images:
        1. A piercing--like having a spear thrust all the way through your body.
        2. A crushing--like the crushing of the olive to get the oil.
        3. A scourging --a public whipping administered for breaking a law.
        4. The slaughter of a sheep, which was at the heart of their worship.
      2. God explained how essential the Savior would be by using these images, and to Israel those illustrations were powerful.
    2. I want you to focus on the image of crushing, because crushing was a critical happening in producing the oil of life.
      1. Isaiah 53:4,5 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. (The New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update, La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation, 1996.)
      2. Isaiah 53 does an incredible job of revealing how the crushed Savior was burdened or pressed by human rebellion, wickedness, and waywardness.
        1. And under all this burden he would pour himself out to death.
        2. Do you remember in the garden of Gethsemane that Jesus prayed with such an immense sense of burden that he sweated as though he were bleeding?
        3. Do you remember when Jesus died that a soldier ran his spear upward into Jesus' side, and blood and water gushed out?
      3. He was crushed, like the olive, and our burdens that he carried in his death pressed our oil of life from him; through his blood we have life.
        1. He was not crushed for any wrong that he did.
        2. He was not burdened because he was deeply distressed by things that happened in his life.
        3. It was the failures, the evil, the wickedness of all people including us that made it necessary for him to be crushed and pressed.
        4. We have the oil of healing, the oil of life because he was crushed and pressed for us.

  3. Peter calls our attention to this same truth in 1 Peter 2:24.
    He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (The New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update, La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation, 1996.)
    1. I want you to clearly picture what happened.
      1. When Jesus was executed on the cross, God allowed all the evil and wickedness that had ever been committed from Adam and Eve's rebellion and all the evil and wickedness that ever would be committed until the end of time to be placed on Jesus.
        1. He had the burden of total, collective human evil placed on him in death.
        2. In death, Jesus experienced the two ultimate human experiences.
          1. In death he experienced what it felt like to die as an evil person because he died covered with our evil.
          2. In death, for a while, our sins separated him from God.
      2. He did this for every person who would live after him; he did this for us.
        1. He loved us enough to do this.
        2. He loved God the Father enough to do this.
        3. He wanted us to be freed from the inescapable guilt of our evil.
      3. The blood flowed from Jesus.
        1. That flowing blood covered our sins literally destroying the sins of a person who accepts his blood by trusting what God did in Jesus' death.
        2. As that flowing blood covers our sins, we are cleansed from every evil thought, every evil word, every evil deed, and every evil that occurred in our lives through ignorance.
        3. When a believer is crushed by repentance and dies with Jesus through baptism, Jesus' blood cleanses him or her from all unrighteousness.
    2. Paul declared that is precisely what God made possible through Jesus' death.
      1. Paul declared one of the most graphic statements found in all the Bible.
        2 Corinthians 5:20,21 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (The New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update, La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation, 1996.)
      2. The most critical need you and I have in life is to be reconciled to God.
      3. Paul said to Christians in Corinth, "We beg you; do it!"
      4. Paul said, "Realize the price that God paid to give you that privilege."
        1. God took the only human who ever lived without any evil in him.
        2. And God made him to be sin!
      5. Why did God do that?
        1. So that you and I would have a choice.
        2. If we accept what Jesus did by becoming sin for us, in him we can become the righteousness of God.
        3. If we accept what Jesus did for us, we can be reconciled to God.

  4. We Christians insult God because we do not understand or grasp what God did in Jesus' death.
    1. God allowed our wickedness to crush and press His perfect Son.
      1. From that crushed, pressed son flowed the blood of atonement, which to us is the oil of life.
      2. If we accept that blood, the oil of life, we become the pure, cleansed sons and daughters of God.
    2. But neither the church nor the world understands what God did.
      1. Jesus gives us light, but Christians and non-Christians are stumbling around in their lives like blind men who hurt themselves because we live in darkness.
      2. Jesus is the bread of life, but Christians and non-Christians eat poisoned garbage for food and are deathly sick.
      3. Jesus heals the wounds and bruises inflicted by evil, but Christians and non-Christians live in pain and agony because they invite evil to abuse us.
    3. We have lost the joy of God's guidance in our lives, our marriages, and our homes because we do not realize what God has done for us.
      1. But when we see and accept what God did, there is hope instead of despair.
      2. There is rejoicing instead of sorrow.
      3. There is peace instead of guilt.
      4. There is freedom instead of slavery.
    4. And when that happens:
      1. People see the joy in our worship because we thank God for deliverance.
      2. People see the gladness in our lives because we live in Jesus' light.
      3. People see the peace in our homes because we live in the healing of the blood of Jesus.
      4. People see the health in our relationships because we eat the bread of life.
    5. And when will that happen? When Christians realize that God crushed and pressed His Son so that the church could anoint and bandage instead of condemn and destroy.

[Prayer: God help us see what You did when You allowed our sins to crush Jesus.]

Does God's oil of life which He gave in Jesus' death flow in your life?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 9 January 2000

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