“I don’t need the blood of any man to save me.”

Painting of Jesus and the cross inside a Jerusalem chapel.

I’ll elucidate on that statement in a moment but let me share a story first.

Years ago, two men studied at a seminary (one more so than the other). On the same day, both received a check in the mail…from the same couple…for the same amount.

Upon receiving the unexpected windfall, the less-than-stellar student Snoopy danced down the hall.

The more studious of the two shrugged his shoulders, folded the check, and slipped it into his pocket.

For one, the gift was ho-hum, just another bit of mail.

For the other…

…confirmation (There is a God in heaven!).

…salvation (I can stay in school!).

…celebration (Oh, happy day!).

What separated the two men and their disparate responses?



The studious student had no pressing need. I, on the other hand, had my heart headed home days earlier and planned on my body following. I had a school debt that needed to be paid and no means of paying it. The check arrived at the right time (the due date of my school bill) in the right amount (exactly enough to pay the bill).

A pastor, the spiritual head of a faith community, made the earlier statement. She had no need for a bloody debt payment. Good for her.

But me? I need blood to cover my debt. And I know it.

You see, I’m wicked (have been in the past, am capable of wickedness now). I’ve seen my heart without the saving blood of Christ and it’s blacker than our old cat Sadie.

I lust. I covet. I envy. I tend toward self-absorption. I want the best then take it when no one’s looking (we’re talking biggest pie slice, the fried-chicken breast, the last custard-filled Krispy Kreme donut, that extra dab of cake frosting—you get the picture).

Like Paul, I cry out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24 NIV)

Circumstances in the past have revealed my true nature without God. And it’s…



Dark. Dark. Dark.

If you think I’m being overly dramatic, then you don’t know me. But God does. And He knows I write the truth.

I need Him.

I need His offer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

I need salvation, redemption, a changed life, new birth, or whatever term you prefer. I need to exchange corruption and death for character and life.

I, like Paul, say, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25 NIV)

I agree with him when he writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

If you’re hungry, you need food.

If you’re hurt, you need healing.

If you’re cold, you need warmth.

If you’re tired, you need sleep.

If you’re lost, you need directions.

If you’re broke, you need money.

If you’re wicked, you need Jesus.

I need Jesus!

Question: Do you need God’s offer of forgiveness and new life found in Jesus Christ and his bloody cross?

Please feel free to contact me at ttarver@mwt.net if you’d like to know more.

About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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6 Responses to Wicked!

  1. Mary Jeffries says:

    AMEN! Ya….and CHristmas and the manger are reminders of the sacrifice that began there and ended on the cross. Ya, Christmas is about more than the fuzzy feeling we get when we get and give.. It is about from the manger to the cross and our salvation. Yes, I need that forgiveness and grace! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tom,
    Yeah, buddy! I NEED JESUS! Thanks for this great reminder as we start advent! I LOVE Romans 7…. Keep up the great work my friend!

    • tnealtarver says:

      I will. Thanks for dropping by. I’m thankful for what Michael offers us each month–the opportunity to see other people’s best. I smile remembering both your nickname and your Christmas tree choice. I’d love to check out your gift as an ordained barista. Not many of those around.

  3. Tom —

    Your story of the two checks (and recipients!) is a powerful illustration. You’ll have me thinking about need for the days and weeks to come.

    Cheri (who not only wants the best, but demands it up front: “No, not the stale one in the back, the fresh one up front with more frosting…”)

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