The old hymn keeps running through my head this week:
The blood that Jesus shed for me
Way back on Calvary,
The blood that gives me strength from day to day—
It will never lose its power.
It reaches to the highest mountain.
It flows to the lowest valley.
The blood that gives me strength from day to day—It will never lose its power.
Why is blood so powerful? Can Jesus’ blood really give us eternal life or is it just a grisly throwback from ancient tradition?
We know blood is essential both for what it brings in and what it takes away. As it travels throughout our body it brings life-giving oxygen and nutrients to every cell. On its way back to the heart, our blood carries away waste products that would poison us if not for this miraculous internal cleansing process.
The practice of bloodletting in order to “balance the humors” began in Egypt, then spread to Greece, Rome, Asia, and Europe and continued even into the 19th century. This dangerous medical practice drastically weakens patients, reduces their ability to fight infection and disease, and has killed many who might otherwise have survived.
We know blood is essential to our physical bodies. You can watch a person’s life ebb away when they lose too much blood. Everything was going fine when I gave birth to my oldest daughter at home, until the placenta refused to disengage. It had embedded too deeply into my uterine wall and wouldn’t detach. I lost more and more blood in my efforts to deliver. Our midwife urged my husband to get me to the hospital quickly before I got any weaker. I think he ran every red light on the way in his panic. (Thankfully it was in the middle of the night so there wasn’t much traffic.)
Many colloquialisms come from the importance blood plays in our lives
  • we show commitment and loyalty by making a pact with a “blood brother”
  • we say “blood is thicker than water” regarding family relationships
  • someone with murderous intent is “after blood”
  • we hold “blood drives” to save lives with donations
We find references to blood all through the Bible.
The life is in the blood: God told Moses, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” (Leviticus 17:11).
There is no forgiveness without blood: “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).
The sacrifice has to be pure; only the blood of Jesus will do: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:18-21).
With all we know about the importance of blood, hearing Jesus’ blood can cleanse us spiritually doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. Asking Him to be our Lord and Savior is like asking for a blood-transfusion. He replaces our sin-infected blood with His pure and sinless blood. He carried away our sins when He gave himself as our sacrifice on the cross, and fills us with life-giving Spirit-oxygenated blood. Jesus’ blood covers and transforms into His likeness those who put their trust in Him, so when they stand before God they appear spotless and sin-free. What an amazing process!
Today, if you have shied away from all the blood-talk of Christianity, I challenge you to think again. Search your heart. Examine nature. Ask God to show you the truth and trust His love for you. You can be reborn today and celebrate Easter for the very first time as part of the family of God—blood kin.
Happy Easter!
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