November 1, 2016
Our Obsession with Blood
Post by Brittany Tedesco
The blood of Jesus is the greatest mystery of eternity and the deepest mystery of divine wisdom. - Andrew Murray
As Syria continues to deteriorate, the flow of Syrian refugees into Turkey continues. "The new people that are coming have nothing and need blankets," wrote a Turkish ministry leader who works in Syrian tent camps. "The children also have nothing and they are experiencing psychological trauma. With your financial help, last month we were able to purchase for them some notebooks, pencils, and a New Testament picture book in Arabic."
The report continued: "I know for sure that they are reading this New Testament picture book. One refugee girl came running up to us as we were entering her compound in trucks full of supplies for them. She didn't give up asking us to come see the pictures she had colored, no matter how many times we said, 'Wait a minute.'"
When I saw the first picture this young girl had drawn, I was struck by its profundity. The drawing suggested she grasped the theology that we, in the West, are losing touch with.
Inside of a refugee camp, filled with death, sorrow and acts of evil, is the Son of God on a cross, His blood dripping down.
In that child's drawing, we see the ugliness of the sinful human condition and the payment it required before a Holy God.
And we see the nearness of Christ's blood for those who would avail themselves of it.
Several years ago, one of my Facebook friends posted a question: why are Christians so obsessed with the blood of Christ. Why not focus on His life, His example?
After all, blood is kind of icky...especially for the squeamish among us.
Indeed, Jesus took away the sins of the world. . .through a gory, brutal, bloody death.
Why the bloodiness? After all, there are ways one can die that don't involve bloodshed.
In Leviticus 17:11, God explains that "the life of the flesh is in the blood. . .for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul."
We know that, unlike the other cells that compose our bodies, blood cells are fluid—moving throughout the entire body to supply the other cells with nourishment and carry away waste products. If the blood fails to reach these cells, they die. Without the circulation of blood, a person dies.
Because the life is in the blood, it's fair to conclude that the value of the blood corresponds to the value of the life that is in it.
In the Old Testament, people sacrificed animals to atone for their sins. But the blood—the life—of an animal could only temporarily cover their sin.
The temporary fix continued for centuries until—"Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).
The infinite value of Christ's blood has the power to permanently take away the sins of those who have repented and turned to Him.
In his book, "The Blood of Christ," Andrew Murray writes, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. And without remission of sins there is no life. But by the shedding of His blood He has obtained a new life for us."
He continues: "The hidden value of His blood is the spirit of self-sacrifice, and where the blood truly touches the heart, it works out a like spirit of self-sacrifice. We learn to give up ourselves—our own lives—so as to press into the full power of that new life, which the blood has provided."
The second picture the young Syrian girl had drawn was of Jesus feeding a multitude of people. . .next to the ministry leader and his truck full of food, feeding the refugees.
She clearly recognized the same spirit of self-sacrifice.
The time and resources that local believers are expending on the refugees point to the power of Christ's blood to infuse people with His sacrificial spirit.
"The Syrians continue to tell us that, 'you are the ones who have loved us unconditionally. You are not Muslim. You are Christian," wrote the Turkish ministry leader.
"We all agree that it's the greatest awakening happening since the beginning of Islam," said the leader of another ministry in the Middle East, assisted by Christian Aid Mission. "They're shocked that God can be that good. They say it cannot be that God is so loving, so caring. It's the love message that hits them the most."
Writes Murray, "There is no phrase by which the great purposes of God, the wondrous love of the Son of God, the power of His redemption, and the joy and thanksgiving of the redeemed can be gathered up and expressed, except this: 'the blood of the Lamb.'"