Author Archive for Robbie Parsons


Ready in an Instant

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”  2 Timothy 4:2

The date was December 19, 1992.  A little school in Huntington, WV called Marshall University was playing for the NCAA Division 1-AA Football Championship.  Just 25 years earlier, their football program suffered a crippling loss when 75 players, coaches, and boosters died in a plane crash.  Now they were playing for a national championship.  The game was tied at 28-28 with seconds to go in the game.  The Thundering Herd decided to kick a field goal, but there was a twist to this story.  The kicker was Willie Merrick, who was substituting for his brother David.  Willie was a soccer player who had never kicked a field goal.  And now, Marshall’s championship hopes rested on his foot.  His kick sailed straight through the center of the uprights for the win.  Willie was certainly ready in an instant.

Paul was writing to young Timothy, who was a pastor leading a church Paul had planted.  Paul’s admonition to him was to “preach the word.”  He also encouraged Timothy to be “ready in season and out of season.”  While Timothy had been called to be a pastor and preach, Paul was cautioning him that he had to be ready to preach at a moment’s notice.

Such is the life in the witness of a disciple of Christ today.  We may not be called to get in a pulpit to deliver a message.  But to preach literally means “to proclaim.”  We may not deliver a message from the pulpit, but we must let our lives deliver a message.  Not only should we let our lives deliver a message, but we must be ready in an instant to share the good news of the gospel to those who need it.

You may never know when you may be called to kick the championship-winning field goal for God.  Be ready in an instant.



“Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned.”  Numbers 19:5

In this verse, we learn that the “hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse” was to be burned with the heifer.  In other words, the whole thing was to be consumed in the fire to produce the ashes.  In like manner, the whole part of Christ was consumed when He was crucified, just in a different way.

First, Jesus suffered physical turmoil.  There is quite a bit written about the physiological aspects of Jesus’s torture and anguish through His crucifixion.  When He was beaten with fists, he suffered various bruises, inflammation, and cuts.  When He was whipped with the whip, it ripped chunks of skin and other tissues from His back, causing a tremendous loss of blood.  Carrying the cross would extend the bleeding and fatigue, not to mention the extreme pain suffered by having the nails driven through His wrists.

Second, Christ suffered emotional turmoil.  Throughout His ministry, Jesus, the Son, would pray to the Father for help and strength in enduring trials and difficult situations.  But when He was on the cross, when He who knew no sin became sin for us, the Father could not bear to look at His Son, let alone help Him.  Jesus cried out for His help, but could not even find solace in Him.  Jesus was absolutely, totally alone.  What an emotional tragedy this had to be for Him.

Last, the spiritual aspect of His suffering seems to be the worst.  As was mentioned before, He who knew no sin became sin for us.  Jesus was the perfect Son of God, and was given the name above all names.  He was the creator, the Word, and the image of the invisible God.  He was the Messiah, the anointed one.  But when He became sin, Jesus was spiritually separated from God.  Just let that swirl around in your mind!  Why else would He have cried out in indescribable anguish, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Yes, when Jesus was crucified, His whole being was destroyed.  Just as the whole part of the red heifer had to be destroyed, Jesus whole being suffered the same fate.  Thanks to God Almighty for the gift of His Son!



“Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times.”  Numbers 19:4

A part of the comparison of Jesus, the sacrifice offered up by God the Father to be our savior, to the red heifer is how the blood was handled by the priest according to this verse that we look at today.

The blood was to be collected in one hand, usually the left, and the other (right) hand dipped in the blood to sprinkle it.  When sprinkling the blood, the priest would be looking at the tabernacle or the temple, and he would sprinkle the blood in its direction.  In this way, he is looking at the source of redemption and atonement, the presence of God.  Ultimately, He is the start point of salvation.

Second, the sprinkling signifies the application of the blood for the forgiveness of sin.  The Israelites applied the blood of the lamb to their doorposts so the death angel would not kill the firstborn child (Exodus 12).  Just as this sprinkling of the blood foreshadowed the blood of Jesus saving us from death, the sprinkling of the blood of the red heifer points to this event.

Last, it is significant to note that the sprinkling was done seven times.  The number seven is representative of perfection.  Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, who was sinless, and who was therefore worthy to be slain.  What the blood of sheep and goats could not do, Jesus’ blood did for all the world for all of time.



You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence.”  Numbers 19:3

Yet another significant point of the burning of the red heifer to have her ashes is that she was to be “brought outside the camp,” and be slaughtered in the presence of the priest.  The slaughter was not done by the priest, but it was performed by a layman as the priest looked on.  This is another foreshadowing of the Messiah.

Hebrews 13:12 tells us that Jesus “suffered outside the gate.”  Around the ancient city of Jerusalem at the time, there was a gate to provide protection.  All crucifixions were performed outside the city gates.  In fact, John 19:17 says that Jesus “went out,” carrying His cross to Golgotha.  This means that He went outside the city gates.

Likewise, we as disciples of Christ should be going outside the camp.  We should act and operate outside the systems and practices of the world, and should rather not be conformed to them (Romans 12:1-2).  Likewise, Paul exhorted Timothy to entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life like the world does, but to set priorities by putting Christ first (2 Timothy 2:4).



This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer…”  Numbers 19:2

One of the supposed objections to comparing Jesus to the red heifer is that a heifer is a female cow, whereas Jesus was a male, the Son of God and the Son of Man.  Such an objection makes a valid point at first.  But once one delves into the culture of the day, an analogy can be discovered.

When Judas betrayed Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, he had already made prior arrangements with the chief priests to turn Him over to them.  Judas would identify Jesus to them by kissing Him on the cheek (Luke 22:1-6). It is this point where Jesus asked Judas, “Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”  (Luke 22:48)

It is also revealed in the deal that Judas made with the chief priests that Judas was to be paid 30 pieces of silver.  We are always told that was the price of a slave.  But what we do not know, until we learn more about the culture of the day, is that the price of a male slave was 50 pieces of silver.  The price of a female slave was 30 pieces of silver, thus fulfilling the connection of Jesus to the female cow, the red heifer.



This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed.’”  Numbers 19:2

The red heifer was very significant to the Israelites in their worship and purification processes.  The red heifer was burnt and the ashes used to purify one who touched a dead body.  These ashes also had their significant place for purification on the Day of Atonement, that one day of the year that the priest went into the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the nation.

The first requirement of the red heifer was that she be “unblemished” and have “no defect.”  She had to be absolutely perfect in order to be used for this important part of worship on the Day of Atonement.  If there had been any blemish of any kind, then that heifer could not be used.  In the history of the use of the red heifer, nine have been used.

As far as the need of the perfect, unblemished red heifer, the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world also had to be perfect and unblemished.  Christ was not born from the seed of man, so He did not inherit the sin nature (Luke 1:35).  Jesus was the perfect and sinless one (Hebrews 10:14).  As such, He was able to become our sin to be our sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is truly wonderful to see how, in every aspect of the atonement of the nation of Israel, Christ is represented.



And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.’”  Luke 22:20

 This verse takes place during the Last Supper, where Jesus was celebrating the Passover seder (or meal).  In just a couple of hours, Christ would being his all-night prayer vigil in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest and crucifixion.  The cup was actually filled four times during the course of the seder.  The seder began with the first cup, called the Kiddush, which literally means sanctification.  The cup of plagues is the second cup.  The fourth cup is the cup of hallel, or praise, which the Lord said that He would not drink “from now on until the kingdom of God comes,” a foreshadowing of His return to the new earth.

The third cup is the cup of redemption!

The cup that Jesus offered in this verse is the one that is always poured immediately after the food had been consumed, as evidenced by the Holy Spirit intentionally guiding Luke to write, “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten.”  The Son of God told His disciples that this cup represented His blood which was shed for many, ushering in the new covenant.  This third cup is the cup of redemption.

What a beautiful foreshadowing we find the Passover seder, with the cup of redemption being identified with the Messiah’s blood!  The blood of bulls could not adequately atone for our sins forever, but the Redeemer whom Job said lives came in human flesh, dwelt among us, and sacrificed His own body, because the without the shedding of blood, we can have no forgiveness for sin.

Because He willingly finished the Father’s work on the cross and rose again, we are redeemed!  Hallelujah!

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