I remember hearing a man say how, before he was saved, he thought Christians were creepy cannibals for always talking about blood. I’ve always been very familiar with the gospel story, and having grown up singing songs like “There’s Power in the Blood”, I never gave it much thought.
Reading and marking the book of Hebrews has made me realize how much ‘blood’ is referenced just in that book alone. (Just so you know, it’s in there 21 times.) So what’s so significant about the blood of Jesus? There are ways to die without shedding blood, yet that’s not how Jesus died.
Well, we know from Scripture (and modern medicine!) that life is in the blood. I was reminded of that firsthand when a nurse drew my blood for lab work. I sat there with that uncomfortable needle stuck in me and watched her fill five long vials. Actually, I tried not to watch, and was thankful there were Bible verses posted on the wall for me to read to keep me from thinking about all that blood I was losing…or of other things like leeches…and George Washington’s death……aaand now back to the topic at hand!
We also know that God set up the practice of the necessity of shed blood (through animal sacrifices) for the forgiveness of sin. In order for Jesus to save sinners, His blood must be shed in death. And as the writer of Hebrews (Paul?) says, “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (8:13-14)
I am so thankful that we don’t have to offer animal sacrifices anymore to receive pardon from God! But I am even more thankful that it’s not my blood that has to be shed for my sins. Because Jesus willingly surrendered His life, I am sanctified through His death.
The gospel isn’t a feel-good story about a nice man who did a nice thing and made the sun shine again so that the world could live happily ever after. It’s a graphic story of a painful solution for a dead people from a merciful God.
Jesus didn’t endure a little ‘ole needle stuck in His vein that was for His benefit, or because He was sick. He endured–with joy–excruciating death on a cross for the glory of His Father and the healing of sick sinners! That’s our Jesus!
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.