Blood. Not exactly a ‘nice’ thing to think about, is it?
Though if you’re a nurse, or anyone working in the medical profession, it’s probably a normal part of your everyday life.
And if you’ve ever been a post-adolescent female, in an accident, very sick, or given birth, you’ll know about the reality of blood.
Every mother will tell you child-birth (whether by C-section or otherwise) was visceral, unthinkable – but totally worth it.
Friends have said to me at different times that Christianity seems a bit sadistic – all this talk about the blood of Christ which washes away our sins. ‘What’s with that anyway?’ I’ve heard it said. ‘Basing your religion around someone dying in such a horrific way?’
It does seem a little less than sanitary, doesn’t it?
And we do tend to try and sanitise life… avoid talking about those things that might make us feel a bit off-colour.
Before Christ’s death, Gentiles had no hope of access to God – and many desperately wanted it. The Jews did have access, but only by and through their high priest. He could enter into the ‘holy of holies’ in the temple only once a year, to sacrifice the blood of animals for the cleansing of sin.
Now, through the blood of Jesus, that is – after His death on a cross – we can all find forgiveness and redemption from the things we’ve done wrong, and have direct access to God. He – the God of the universe – was the sacrificial lamb, ensuring that animal sacrifices weren’t needed anymore.
It’s hard to imagine the kind of ceremony the high priests went through just to be able to speak to God. And I’m so thankful Jesus took that need away. That I can access Him right now.
When you’re truly searching for God, you’ll do anything to find Him. But how wonderful when we realise it’s really quite straightforward. By turning from our sins – which Jesus died to save us from – and believing in Him, He is found. In an instant. And the peace we feel when we do that is incredible.
Yes, blood turns many of us pale. But Jesus courageously faced the reality of pain at its worst, for us. God, in Christ, entered humanity in the most real, visceral way imaginable. Our champion, redeemer, warrior and king! Women who give birth are brave and beautiful, but He is much more so. And for the same reason. Because He loved us so.
Love that shed blood, for me. Yes it’s raw and gritty and horrific. But like child-birth, it didn’t end at the blood-shed inflicted from excruciating pain. It ended with Jesus rising from the grave – coming alive – to prove He was God. And we ultimately triumph over death with Him. I can’t think of a better reason to celebrate!
“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 forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
(I Peter 1:18-19)
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
(I Peter 2:24)
“He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.”
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
” The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
“This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”
Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”
And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
I have been cleansed, Jesus, by your blood. Give me a heart that draws near to you in thankfulness, hope and never-ceasing love, precious Father, Son and Holy Spirit.