It is one of the marvels of modern medicine that the blood of one person can be used to help another. Many people voluntarily make a donation of blood at their local blood donor clinic. By giving some of your blood, you may help save the life of someone else.
Our donation of some blood, however, pales in comparison to a donation of blood made nearly 2000 years ago. While our blood may help save someone from death, the blood donated some 2000 years ago saves from eternal death! That blood is the blood shed by Jesus Christ, as he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, he descended into hell. At the Orangeville Canadian Reformed Church we look to this unique blood donation for its life saving power. By means of a brief explanation we hope that you too will be stirred to come and join us in the worship of him who shed his life’s blood to save our lives, and share in the life he obtained by that blood donation.
Mankind’s deadly sickness
People will be in need of donated blood when they are sick. The sickness that requires the blood of Jesus Christ is sin. Sin is a fatal sickness. Everyone who is guilty of sin is headed not simply for physical death but eternal condemnation.
You will realize that we are speaking the language of the Bible here. After all, you may look at yourself and feel very much alive. The Bible, however, shows that there is more to life than what we can see with the eyes. It teaches that there is a God who made the heavens and the earth. God created the first members of the human race, Adam and Eve, to live in a close relationship with him. You can read about this in the first chapters of Genesis. God gave them the whole world in which to live. The only thing God forbade was the eating from one particular tree. You can read about this in Genesis 2:17. God added the threat that if they would eat, they would die.
The sad story of what happened is told in Genesis 3. The man and his wife did eat. Later in the Bible, in Romans 5:12, Paul wrote that by this one sin death entered the world. He wrote in his letter to the Ephesians that mankind is dead through transgressions and sins (chapter 2:1).
You can notice from this that death should not be understood in the first place as physical life coming to an end. Death, rather, is being separated from God. Mankind is spiritually dead in the face of God. Mankind is under the sentence of condemnation. Mankind deserves to suffer in hell, which the Bible shows is the eternal place of torment.
God’s Cure: Jesus dying on the cross
We have used the example of health and sickness. The sickness of the human race is thus severe. If we look in the world, we might think mankind is very much alive. Spiritually, however, the vital signs are gone. In the letter to the Romans, Paul gave a scathing diagnosis of the human race. He wrote,
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:9-18).
An honest review of history will show how often civilization was no more than a very thin veneer. Societies have collapsed and people have done many terrible things to others.
Yet, though humanly speaking all looks hopeless, God provides the cure for mankind’s terminal condition. The cure is his Son, Jesus Christ, facing death in the place of sinners. This cure is described already in what is called the Old Testament. There you can read about different types of sacrifices. Animals such as a lamb or goat had to be killed. The importance of this is spelled out in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the creature is in the blood; and I have given it you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” That meant that the blood of animals was symbolically donated so save the life of sinners. Notice the importance of blood.
The blood donations in the Old Testament sacrifices, however, were only a picture of the ultimate blood donation by the Lord Jesus Christ. He is called “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus himself said that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)
God’s solution to mankind’s sickness unto death is Jesus Christ giving his life’s blood in the place of sinners. Jesus “was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed…and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all….He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:5,6,12).
Because of the donation of Jesus’ precious blood, Christians become spiritually alive again. Life takes on a new dimension in terms of being able to live with joy before the face of God. True, Christians still have to face physical death, but that death does not scare them anymore. Because of Christ’s gift of life, death is not stepping into hell but into heaven!
The heart of Christian Worship
When you realize the power of the blood donation of Christ on the cross to save sinners from death, you can understand why Christians speak about it so much. Paul writes that he boasts in the cross (Galatians 6:14), for on cross Christ gave his blood. The importance of the blood of Christ comes out also in the way the Church celebrates what is called the “Lord’s Supper” or, the “Holy Supper.” Jesus commanded his followers to break some bread and drink some wine in remembrance of his death on the cross. That wine especially reminds us that his life’s blood was given to rescue us from death and give us eternal life. Also the sacrament of baptism points to the shed blood of Jesus. The water of baptism is an image of how Jesus’ blood washes away sins.
It is because we know that he gave his blood to obtain life for those who believe in him that we gladly speak about it also by means of this pamphlet. A pamphlet, however, is only brief. We can spend a lifetime learning and praising God for sending his Son to donate his blood for the life of the world. We therefore invite you to come and join us in our weekly worship to learn and worship.
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