August 3, 2009
“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a
heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the
cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish
to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living
God?” – Hebrews 9:13-14
For many of us, life has been incredibly cleaned up. I buy chicken
that has no feathers, bones, skin, or blood. My trash disappears
every Tuesday and Friday. I have four scented shower gels to choose
from each morning. Probably the messiest things I have to deal
with are washing the dishes after a barbeque dinner or cleaning
up cat throw-up.
When I think about it, Christianity doesn’t really fit in
with my sterilized, carefully moderated interaction with the world.
The core of Christianity centers around blood ... something I would
rather avoid, whether we are talking about my blood, or anyone
else’s. Before Christ, it was the blood of goats and bulls
and heifers. But they simply pointed the way to the final sacrifice,
where the blood of Jesus was poured out for the salvation of the
The core of Christianity isn’t comfortable to think about.
It’s not about incense and flowers and books and paintings
and cathedrals, though all those can teach us about God and help
us to worship. It’s not about serving others or finding fulfillment
or experiencing everlasting joy, though all those spring from its
No, the center, the heart of Christianity, its very core, is blood.
The core of Christianity is the blood of Christ. The blood that
proves God’s love, the blood that forgives all our sins,
the blood that brings us new life, turning our hearts of stone
into hearts of flesh.
It almost seems too raw. Too tangible. Too real.
But that’s the wonder and the joy of it all: we serve a
God whose feet walked this earth. Whose hands touched lepers to
comfort and heal. Whose body was broken and whose blood was spilled.
You can never claim that God is distant when he shows you the
nail scars in his hands.
- Spend some time considering that
Jesus – fully man
and fully God – bled for you. By the time he died, he had
been beaten, scourged, crowned with thorns, pierced by nails,
and stabbed with a spear. What impact does this have on you?
might people find the centrality of blood in the gospel to be
- What can you do to bring to mind more clearly the blood
and body of Christ when you celebrate communion?