Text: 1 Peter 1: 18-19 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.”
It seems like every organization has their specialized terms that communicate well within the group but may be hard to understand for those outside the group. And the Church is no different. As a matter of fact, I have read that one of the charges brought against the 1st Century church was cannibalism based on their statement about the Lord’s Supper—the bread being the Flesh and the Wine being the Blood of Jesus. The pagan world took that statement quite literally and used it to justify the persecution of those early Christians.
And the truth is, as our society drifts more and more into paganism andthe population becomes more and more illiterate concerning Christianity, we too must be careful to make sure the terms we use make sense to those we are trying to reach.
And to an outsider who knows nothing about the Bible or Christianity, all our talk about the Blood of Jesus may be very confusing and possibly may even be repulsive. I know a lot of people who get pretty skirmish about blood.
Dr. Paul Brandt in his book, In His Image, tells of the turning moment in his decision to study medicine. He had been encouraged to do so by his relatives, but the sight of blood and open wounds was so sickening to him, he had instead chosen to become a builder, doing apprentice work as a carpenter, a mason, a painter, and a bricklayer. But, after 5 years, he found himself at a small hospital on London’s East Side, Planning to return to India, the mission organization had advised him to enroll in a course in hygiene and tropical medicine. He describes what happened:
It was during one evening of my stint at Connaught that my whole view of medicine—and of blood—permanently shifted. That night hospital orderlies wheeled a beautiful young accident victim into my ward. Loss of blood had given her skin an unearthly paleness, and her brownish hair seemed jet-black in contrast. Oxygen starvation had shut down her brain into a state of unconsciousness.
The hospital staff lurched into their controlled-panic response to a trauma patient. A nurse dashed down a corridor for a bottle of blood while a doctor fumbled with the transfusion apparatus. Another doctor, glancing at my white coat, thrust a blood pressure cuff at me. Fortunately, I had already learned to read pulse and blood pressure. I could not detect the faintest flicker of a pulse on the woman’s cold damp wrist.
In the glare of hospital lights she looked like a waxwork Madonna or an alabaster saint from a cathedral. She did not seem to be breathing. I felt sure she was dead.
The nurse arrived with a bottle of blood and buckled it into a metal stand as the doctor punctured the woman’s vein with a large needle. They fastened the bottle high and used an extra-long tube so that the increase in pressure would push the blood into her body faster. The staff told me to keep watch over the emptying bottle while they scurried off for more blood.
Nothing in my memory can compare to the excitement of what happened next. Certainly the details of that scene come to me even now with a start. As the others all left, I nervously held the woman’s wrist. Suddenly I could feel the faintest press of a pulse. Or was it my own finger’s pulse? I searched again—it was there, a tremor barely perceptible, but regular. The next bottle of blood arrived and was quickly connected. A spot of pink appeared like a drop of watercolor on her cheek. It began to spread into a beautiful flush. Her lips darkened pink, then red, and her body quivered with a kind of sighing breath.
Then her eyelids fluttered lightly and parted. She squinted at first, and her pupils constricted, reacting to the bright lights in the room. At last she looked directly at me. To my enormous surprise, she spoke, asking for water.
That young woman entered my life for only an hour or so, but the experience left me utterly changed. I had seen a miracle; a corpse resurrected, the creation of Eve, when breath entered into and animated her body. If medicine, if blood could do this…
By the time I finished my year at Livingston College I was incurably in love with medicine…The memory of shed blood had kept me out of medicine; the power of shared blood ultimately brought me to it.
There’s something precious about Blood!
Dr. Brandt’s experience serves as an illustration of something even more dramatic—The life giving power of the Blood of Jesus.
Today, let’s focus on what the Bible means—and what the Church should understand- about the Precious Blood of Jesus.
Some of us get a little queasy when we talk about blood. All this talk about blood may seem gory and repulsive.
But the whole point of Christianity’s fixation on Blood is this: Jesus Christ, who was sinless and perfect in every way, gave his life for us who are sinful and imperfect, so that we could be forgiven, cleansed, and restored to a right relationship with God. The Writer of Hebrews reminds us that, “…the Law requires that nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). 1 John 2:2 says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
When Jesus went to the Cross, he did so to die in our place, to pay the debt for our sins, a debt we could never pay ourselves. It was a once-for-all-time event. It was for all the sins of all time. It was for your sins and for mine. 50 years ago this month (Oct. 1968—2018) – I made my way to an altar in a church much like this one and confessed my sins to the Lord and asked Him to forgive me and to save me. Spiritually, the Blood of Jesus was applied to my heart that day and it is still working right up to this point in time. Today I invite you to come kneel at an altar and accept the forgiveness for and cleansing from the guilt of your sins. It is all possible because of THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST!