Amazed by His Precious Blood
When we approach the topic of the blood of Jesus, we run into several problems: over-familiarity, detachment, and cultural disconnect. Those of us who have been around churches for many years get used to all the talk about the blood. We sing songs about how precious it is and how it washes us white as snow. From outside the church, however, the idea of being “covered by the blood” would give rise to an image from the movie Carrie or some other horror flick. There’s no glory in that vision, only gory; thus, the secular culture around us has a lot of catching up to do to understand where we are coming from when we speak reverently and lovingly of the blood of Christ.
But another issue we have, both in the church and out of it, is that we have become detached from the bloodiness through our sanitized, plastic-wrapped meat trays in the grocery store. Therefore, when we speak of the blood of animal sacrifices and even the blood of Jesus (unless we work in a farm or healthcare field), we probably relate to it in more symbolic than real images and, therefore, are detached from the depth of the meaning of His precious shed blood. To combat this over-familiarity and detachment, we need to ponder the blood at a deeper level and allow the Spirit to draw us into more awe at what it has done for us—and most especially, Who shed it for us.
The bloodiness of the Old Testament sacrifice was intended to be appalling. It was meant to drive home to the people the seriousness, the heinous nature of their sin. The ritual was bloody, bloody, bloody. It is estimated that on the Passover during which Jesus died, upwards of 25,000 lambs were sacrificed. One author graphically described the river of blood that would have flowed out of the temple and down into the valley. Multiply that by the centuries of Passovers and daily or seasonal sacrifices, and the countless lambs and other animals that died to cover the sins of men. What a picture of the tragedy of our sin! And yet those innocent animals were only a stopgap, looking forward in faith to the blood of the Lamb, which would finally cover the sin of all who trust in Him.
From the beginning of God’s interaction with man, there was an understanding of the preciousness of blood. We see it in Genesis where Abel’s blood sacrifice was accepted while Cain’s sacrifice of vegetables was not. Both were making offerings and acknowledging God, but Cain’s refusal to present a blood sacrifice showed he did not acknowledge he needed a covering for his sin. Abel’s sacrifice demonstrated that God had already revealed to man that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness for sin.”
As God unfolded the mysteries of His plan of redemption, laying the groundwork for the revelation of His Son as the ultimate Sacrifice, He declared that “life is in the blood.” Blood was sacred, and both man and beast were accountable for its shedding. Blood was to be handled in carefully prescribed ways and was not to be consumed at all. To violate this would be to become “cut off”—from the community, from God, even from life itself. All of the rules and regulations concerning blood were meant to telegraph strongly that blood was precious in the sight of God. And there is no blood more precious than the blood of His Son.
Way back in Leviticus 17 is where we find that thrice-repeated phrase, “the life of a creature is in its blood,” as well as, “it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” This laid the foundation for what would ultimately come through Jesus. His precious blood was given to us for atonement for our sin. His blood gives us life—life eternal.
Jesus said that His blood was the blood of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sin. The people of His day would have had an understanding of this, since they had grown up under the sacrificial system, offering blood sacrifices for everything from births to sin offerings to the annual Passover/Day of Atonement feasts. But Jesus also told them that if they didn’t eat His flesh and drink His blood, they would not have life. This was not a message they were prepared to hear, for the consumption of blood was a curse to them. It would have been even more repulsive than if He had told them to eat pork. Many turned away from Him in horror at the suggestion.
But on this side of the cross, we have a better frame of reference for what He was saying. Essentially, His message was that His sacrifice means nothing to us if we don’t spiritually take it in and apply it to ourselves. It is through this appropriation that we gain life from His blood. We do this by believing that His blood alone brings us salvation. As the old hymn tells us, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!” We are to take that truth into our very being and allow it to do its work in us.
We know that when we put good food into our body we derive many physical benefits, and it’s true of the blood of Jesus, as well. For through His blood we are purchased, pardoned, purified, given peace, and empowered. Jesus loves us so much that He bought and redeemed us with His own blood (Acts 20:28, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:12). One of the worship songs in heaven states, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:12). How can we not be amazed by that on earth when it is a song of highest praise in heaven?
The blood of Jesus also has the power to pardon us. Through it we have forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7) and justification (Romans 5:9). As we saw in Leviticus, God provided the blood for atonement, and “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). That would be our state without the amazing blood of Jesus shed for us—buried under the load of our sin, not forgiven, unjustified, without hope, dead. Oh! The precious blood of Jesus!
Another benefit of Jesus’ precious blood is that it purifies us. The blood of the sacrifice was often sprinkled on objects to consecrate and cleanse them (Hebrews 9). Hebrews also tells us that the blood of Jesus purifies our consciences and sanctifies us (sets us apart and makes us holy). As we peek once more into Revelation, we see a reference to those who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Our stains of sin—our black hearts and filthy hands—are all purified by the blood of Jesus.
But this is not the end of the benefits! Through the blood, we are given peace (Colossians 1:20). If we hadn’t been pardoned and purified, and if we weren’t truly trusting the blood of Jesus has indeed done this for us, we would have no peace. Some people struggle with assurance; sometimes it isn’t so much whether Jesus’ blood can save but whether it has really been applied to them personally. (If this is the case in your life, this site [PDF] might help you gain some assurance.). This is part of why it is so important that we dig into the word of God and fix our eyes on Jesus because the more we see, understand, and experience of Him and all He has done for us, the more we will grow in assurance and peace.
As we grow in the blessedness of this peace, we will experience more of the presence of God. Paul tells us that we “have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” We are brought near because His shed blood did purchase, pardon, and purify us. When He died, the temple curtain that hid away the Holy of Holies was torn, giving us direct access to the Presence of God. Hebrews 10 tells us that the blood of Jesus gives us confidence to enter in, to “draw near to God with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us [remember, the sprinkling of blood was an act of consecration and purification] from a guilty conscience” (we are pardoned). The blood of Jesus is our covering as we enter the presence of God.
And lastly, the precious blood of Jesus gives us power. Revelation 12:10-11 tells us:
“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.'”
The “accuser of our brothers” is the same one we see in Zechariah 3, throwing accusations at the High Priest Joshua. Even though he is the father of lies, Satan doesn’t need to make anything up to accuse us before the throne. Our own deeds and attitudes of our hearts are enough to condemn us. But the blood of the Lamb is the power to overcome these accusations because our testimony is that the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover every sin. The next time you feel accused and condemned by the enemy over sin you have confessed and renounced, testify out loud: “My sin is gone. It has been removed by the power of the blood of Jesus. I am purchased, pardoned, purified, and have peace through the power of this amazing precious blood. I can rest in His presence because there is now no condemnation for me.”
There is no sin so great, no pile of sin so high that the blood of Jesus cannot cover them. Hebrews 10:9-12 tells us that we have been made holy “once and for all” through Jesus’ sacrifice and that, when Jesus was through shedding His blood “for all time one sacrifice for sins,” He sat down at the right hand of God. His precious blood was shed for us, and it was finished. Let the wonder of that sink in. What an amazing precious blood, indeed! What an amazing Savior!
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries