The Scarlet Cord

My wife had given me a watch as a birthday present two months before we had gotten married. It was a very nice watch and was meant to go with my navy blue suit on the day of our wedding. I had the watch with me until that time and then didn’t touch it for months afterwards thinking I would only use it for special occasions. Three months later around her birthday, I decided to wear it when we went out for dinner. I turned the whole apartment upside down looking for it, but much to my dismay, I couldn’t find the watch and was very upset about it. I didn’t know how much the watch cost, and it didn’t always match what I decided to wear, but it was still very significant to me. I turned the apartment inside out that night to find that watch because it signified so much at that point in my life. It reminded me that Brittany loved me, that we would be showing the proof of our love in two short months through our covenant of marriage, and that she would always love me and be by my side as my wife for as long as we were alive. I know that our rings generally are supposed to be the reminders of that, but since she thoughtfully gave it to my for my birthday leading up to our marriage, that’s what it will always remind me of. Reading through Joshua 2, we see a very similar story of the significance of one item and how it serves as a picture of Christ and His sacrifice for us.

The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window. | Joshua 2:17-21

When we think about Rahab, the first thought that comes to mind usually is not Christ sacrifice. We know how she helped the people of Israel in their conquest of Jericho by concealing the spies when they surveyed the land. But here she depicts herself as a true warrior of faith by doing one of the smallest acts of service. We know from Hebrews 11 that she is considered as one of the heroines of faith through her actions and she is even included in the family line of Christ to show to all how God can redeem even the worst of sinners to be used for his purpose.

By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. | Hebrews 11:31

Looking back at Joshua 2, we see that her actions of faith and courage can be tied back to the significance of one item, the scarlet cord! Reading the chapter plainly, it may just look like a rope hanging out of the window used by the spies to escape but we see here that it holds so much significance. What significance did it hold and what did that mean to Rahab and her family? The scarlet cord signified three things to her, it indicated that someone is going to come to take over Jericho, it reminded her that someone had been there whom she had witnessed, and it promised her that someone would return for her and her family. That is the same picture of salvation that we see in the gospels and the same remembrance that we hold when we worship each Sunday morning. We see a clear picture of that when we read about the last supper in Luke 22.

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. | Luke 22:14-20

When we gather to worship our Lord and partake of the communion, we remember those same three things that hold so much significance to us! We remember when we see that loaf and the cup how he fulfilled the promise that a Messiah would be born both fully God and fully man and live among us. We are reminded by the breaking of that bread and the drinking of the wine that he was witnessed by many as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind through the suffering on His own body and the shedding of His own blood. We are promised by the remaining pieces from this remembrance that He is coming soon to return for us to join with him in the eternal heavenly feast with all the saints. This occasion of celebration indicates to us that our Savior loves sinners like us to the point of sending His one and only son to die for the sins of all mankind and that He alone is worthy of all our praise and worship!

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