“The Power of Blood”
Welcome to “Key to the Kingdom.” A group of people I greatly admire are those who donate blood on a regular basis. Oh, it doesn't take long to donate a pint of blood, and it can be used for various medical issues. The purpose of donating blood revolves around helping save someone's life. As important as that is, there is a donation of blood that is far more significant. Instead of being just a pint of blood, it was enough blood to bring about one's death. It was the blood Jesus offered on the Cross of Calvary. The sacrificial death cost Him everything. He offered what was necessary. And that was indeed a very powerful and important sacrifice. Today, on “Key to the Kingdom,” we will look into the story that is so familiar. We will think about the blood Jesus offered to solve our sin problem and to provide for our salvation. It is at the heart of the Bible and it is the most important story that one could ever tell. I hope you will stay tuned for the next few minutes as we study a lesson entitled “The Power of Blood.”
Many of us are familiar with the purpose of a blood bank. In fact, we might have even donated some blood at a particular facility like that in the past. But we know that by donating a pint of blood, a life might be saved. Extra blood is needed when people have surgeries or injuries or perhaps some other health concerns. And we also know that it cannot be just any blood that is given to another person. The blood of the donor and the one who receives that blood has to be a perfect match. The bottom line is, people cannot live without blood; and we understand that. And that is emphasized in the Bible as well. A very important aspect of life for people living on the Earth before Jesus, and even during Jesus’ time on the Earth, was animal sacrifices. The people would go to the priest who served in that specific area, and he would assist them in making sacrifices to the Lord. The blood sacrifices were pleasing to God, and they served to help make people right in His sight. Now, there are several passages in the Bible that describe the process that was involved. For example, we find these words in Leviticus chapter 17, verse 11. <For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.> Oh, there are many other such passages we could look at that recognize the significance of an animal's blood. Animal sacrifices were made on a regular basis by God's people, the Israelites. And the smell of the fat being burned and seeing the blood being spilled on the altar pleased, or satisfied, God. It was not that He took pleasure in the animal's death; God created that animal in the first place. But God provided animals so that people could be in that right relationship with Him when they sacrificed them on the altar. Now, as we read there in Leviticus, we find two times the word atonement mentioned. What does that mean? What is the definition of atonement? Here it is: the payment for a wrong. In other words, blood was the price required for one to live. The blood of an animal bridged the gap between either being right or being wrong with God. Those animal sacrifices set the stage for what happened through God's Son, Jesus Christ. There are two primary passages we refer to quite often when talking about the problem of sin. Both of them are found in Paul's letter to the Romans. The first one is in chapter 3 verse 23. <For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.> Well, we know what that means. We sin. We make mistakes. We miss the mark. We don't measure up to what God has called upon us to do; and so, we sin. Now the next passage is in chapter 6, verse 23. Paul simply writes, <The wages of sin is death.> Well, if we have a sin problem that has not been dealt with, we will die. And what he's talking about is a spiritual death, not a physical death. Well, a long time ago, God knew that you and I would need a solution to our sin problem, and He provided one. It was much more significant than the blood of the animals that were being sacrificed. But yet, at the same time, it still involved blood. God called upon His one and His only Son, Jesus Christ, to do what nobody had ever done in the past, nor will do in the future. Jesus offered His blood as a payment, or as that atonement, for the wages of our sin. Now, God dealt with our sin problem by doing something none of us would ever consider doing. My guess is all of us would be hard pressed to call upon any one of our children, or even if we had just one son, to sacrifice his life for somebody else, or for people he did not even know, or we did not even know. Yet, that is exactly what Jesus did. He offered Himself as a sacrifice for all people of all time. He asked His son to give His blood and to die, and that's what Jesus did. And through that blood sacrifice, Jesus provided the solution for our sin problem. He provided a way for us to be right with God. And in His sacrificial death, Jesus became known as our Sacrificial Lamb or our Passover Lamb, as the Apostle Paul mentions that in 1st Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 7. When we think about the Passover, we remember how it marked a very important celebration. It was a time when the Jews, God's people, remembered how God had delivered their forefathers out of Egyptian captivity. Just before they were to leave the land of Egypt, God told them to, to have a meal, to be prepared to leave the next day. And that meal consisted primarily of a sacrificial lamb. They ate that lamb. They had other things to eat as well. But the blood that that came from the lamb, as it was being killed, was then spread on the door posts, the outer door posts, of the houses in which the Israelites lived. Well, as the death angels swept through the land of Egypt and destroyed all of the firstborn throughout the land, if the death angel saw the blood on the door of a household he passed over that house because God knew the people living inside of that home were His people, and so death did not come to the firstborn in that home. Well, that Passover celebration and rememberance continued on for quite some time. And the people would bring their sacrificial lambs and they would place them on the altar and they would reflect upon that event where God delivered their ancestors. But when Jesus came on the scene, He became that Passover or that Sacrificial Lamb. And that's the meaning behind the words that Paul used there in 1st Corinthians 5 verse 7; that Jesus is our Passover Lamb. In other words, His blood identifies us as part of God's family, and our sin problem is passed over because we have connected with Jesus. We are in a relationship with Him, and thus in a relationship with God. The author of the letter Hebrews helps us to understand Jesus’ sacrifice. Let’s notice these words, beginning in chapter 9 and verse 11. <But when Christ came as High Priest of the good things that are now already in place, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands; that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. But how much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death so that we may serve the living God!> I realize that's a rather lengthy passage of Scripture to read, but I want us to notice something important here. Three times in this passage we find the importance of the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood took the place of the blood from the animal sacrifices that were made. And because of that blood sacrifice on the cross, there's something outstanding, there’s something amazing that takes place, in your life and in mine. We go from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. And that's good news, isn't it! Let me say it like this: Jesus’ blood is the only thing that cancels out death. That is the only thing that removes the curse of sin. That is the only thing that matters, the blood of Jesus Christ. Well, the Hebrews author isn't finished; he goes on to describe the power of that blood in verse 22. Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness. In fact, the Law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Now, unlike those priests, who receive and offered the animal sacrifices on behalf of the people, Jesus gave His own blood for all people. He did not have to go through a priest, because He was a high priest, Himself. He was that perfect sacrifice that removes our sin and our guilt. And as the author just states, that is the sacrifice which brings about our forgiveness. Now, here's one more statement from Hebrews, it’s found in chapter 10, beginning with verse 10. <By that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this Priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool. For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.> Well, the author draws a contrast here between the priest who received the sacrifices on behalf of the people and Jesus, Himself. Envision what must have been happening then. The people would line up to come to where the priest was receiving those sacrifices, and there was always a line. They had their animals with them. The noise must have been unbearable. And the priest stood there hour upon hour and received the sacrifices on behalf of the people. When his shift was over, another priest would come in and continue to do the very same thing. In other words, their job was never finished. On and on they would go. But when Jesus came on the scene, something changed. As we just read, we notice He offered Himself one time only. He made His sacrifice. He gave His blood. He died upon the cross. And then we notice in the Scripture, He sat down at the right hand of God. And we compare that to the priest; they always stood, but Jesus sat down. They always had work to do, but Jesus finished with His one sacrifice. The story is told of a young boy who had a major health problem and he needed a blood transfusion in order to live. And the only blood that would be perfectly acceptable and a perfect match would be that of his younger brother. So that younger brother was asked if he would be willing to give his blood so that his big brother could live. Very hesitantly and with great fear, the younger boy agreed to do so. And so preparations were made, there in the hospital. The two boys were there on the beds, and the needle was inserted into the older boy’s arm. And then, the needle was inserted into the younger boy's arm, and he began to watch his blood flow from his body into the body of his older brother. And after a moment, with tears in his eyes, he asked the question, “When is it that I die?” That young boy thought that by giving his blood he would die and his older brother would live. Well, that's not the case when we donate a pint, or even more, of our blood for someone else. And yet, that was the case when Jesus gave His blood and died upon the cross. His blood was the perfect match for our sin problem. No other blood could do what Jesus’ blood did. His sacrifice was then and still today, sufficient. Jesus gave up His blood and He eventually gave up His life. He did so for one reason, and that reason was to solve our sin problem so that we could go from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. One day, John the Baptist, His relative, saw Jesus early on in His ministry. And he made this comment about Him, as they approached each other, in John chapter 1, verse 29; he said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John recognized that, indeed, Jesus was the Sacrificial Lamb, the Passover Lamb, who removes the sin of this world. And that's not just individual sins, but it is the solution for every sin, for every person for all time. Oh yes, we recognize that that we have sin in our life, and we commit those on a regular basis, and we need help with those individual sins. But through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, He provides a blanket covering for all sin, when we receive that sacrifice. He removes the curse and the guilt and the stain that sin leaves behind. But through our relationship with Him, our problem is gone. In John, chapter 6, Jesus explains who He was and what His purpose was upon the Earth. Notice what He says about His blood. Let's begin reading in John 6 with verse 53. <Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”> Jesus makes the point that His blood, His body provides our spiritual nourishment. It makes us alive in God's family as we become one of His children. And when we come in contact with His blood, when we identify ourself as submitting to Jesus Christ, and believing in Him, and confessing Him as our Lord and Savior, and then being buried with Him in baptism, it is then that our sin is washed away. It is forgiven and it is forgotten. And as a result of that, we have the promise of eternal life; not only in the future, but we are able to experience just part of that in our relationship with God, even now. Yes, Jesus bore the curse of our sin when He died upon the cross. He was treated no better than the worst sinner. He was placed upon an old wooden cross, an old olive tree, perhaps, fashioned into a cross. And there were two sinners, two thieves, that were hung on either side of Him. But Jesus received the punishment. He took our sin upon Him and He was treated cruelly. And as His blood flowed, He gave a life giving salvation for us. Peter helps us to remember that, in 1st Peter chapter 2, verse 24. <“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.”> Those words remind us of being spiritually alive instead of being spiritually dead. They remind us of the sacrifice Jesus made so we could be right with God and could be set free from sin. After Jesus died and was buried, He rose again on the third day. And on that very night of His resurrection, He appeared to His disciples and they saw for themselves the risen Savior. They saw for themselves the scars that were in His hands and in His feet, where those nails held Him up on the cross. They saw the mark in His side where that spear was placed and then taken out. They saw the scars around His head where that crown of thorns had been placed. They saw for themselves, Jesus, indeed, was alive. And perhaps Jesus, Himself, even looked at those scars, over the next several days before He ascended to His Father. Perhaps He, too, thought about the blood that came from His body. No doubt those scars reminded Him of the sacrificial death He died. Maybe there is something in your life, perhaps on your body, that reminds you of some pain you suffered in the past. And it left a scar, maybe a physical scar, maybe an emotional scar. But you reflect upon that pain, you reflect upon that suffering, perhaps, from time to time. When you look at it, maybe you’re reminded of Jesus’ scars as well. They remind you of the wounds He received on your behalf. But I do hope those scars remind us of the pain He experienced and the blood He lost and the death He died. And when we look at those scars, may they remind us of how that blood and how that sacrificial death removes the pain and the curse and the sin in our life, today. The cross of Jesus Christ is at the center of the New Testament, and everything in the Bible points to it. The cleansing power of His blood is what makes us right in God's sight. Yes, Jesus’ blood is that important. And without it, we would die spiritually. The motto for the local blood bank here in the town in which I live is this: Be the reason someone lives. That's a nice statement, isn't it! It inspires us to share our love with those who are in need of it. I believe there is another statement that is even better: Jesus Christ is the reason I live today! And I hope you can say the very same thing; that you recognize the power of the blood of Jesus Christ and what it does for you in order to make you right in God's sight, as you go from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive.
The building you see behind me is our community's blood bank. And like most blood banks, this one serves a very important role in our community. People come here on a regular basis to donate a pint of blood. People realize that people, others, need blood to live. And so they donate a pint of their blood, and that blood is then used to help people during times of great need. It might be a blood transfusion or an accident or other reasons that people need extra blood. And so that blood is given, it is donated to help people live. And when I think about the donations of blood and people living because of that, I'm reminded of the donation Jesus made with His own blood, but it was far more than just a donation. He gave blood so that we might live not physically, but spiritually. He gave all of His blood. He died upon the cross so that we can experience an eternal home with our Father in heaven. And that is something nobody else has ever done or ever will do in the future, to donate their blood, to give the totality of their life so that we might live eternally with God. And that's a blessing. That's something we can anticipate and receive when we accept what Jesus has done for us. His blood takes away our sin. His blood takes away the curse and the guilt and the shame of that sin. And His blood brings us into that right relationship with our Heavenly Father. Let us never forget about the importance of donating blood for other people. But let us also be reminded of Jesus’ great sacrifice of giving His blood for us.
Thank you for being our guest today on “Key to the Kingdom.” I trust this message about the blood Jesus shed on the cross reminded us of His great sacrifice. I also hope you have received that great sacrifice and that His blood has washed away your sin. If you would like to hear or to view this message again, it is available on our website. Please go to, keytothekingdom.com; there it can be downloaded in several different formats. It does not cost anything to do so and there is no commitment required. Many other messages are there as well, which might be of interest. While on the website, I would encourage you to look at the other things which are offered. One minute devotional thoughts and two minute inspirational videos are uploaded on a regular basis. These may assist you in your daily walk with the Lord. Information about this ministry, along with our basic beliefs is there as well. If you would like quick and easy access to our website, you might consider downloading the free app onto your smart phone. Or, you can find us on Facebook®. Thank you again for tuning in to today's broadcast. I invite you to join us again next time, as we continue to study the Bible on “Key to the Kingdom.”