Hate to admit it, but fourteen years ago I moved to this city to start this church intentionally planning to NOT bring up things like the Cross and the Blood of Jesus. It was the seeker-friendly “model” to go out and create neutral, non-religious atmospheres where the unchurched wouldn’t be “offended” by our symbolism or perplexed by our weird language. That phase lasted about two years. Today, the Cross and the Blood are big deals at Church at the Gate. In fact, they are our only hope. A year ago January, the Lord spoke to me on this again – that I should offer communion every Sunday because lifting high the chalice of the Blood of the Lord Jesus will usher our people into a greater freedom. We’ve been offering communion (at least on a self-serve basis) every weekend since. There is power in the blood!
On my 12-city state tour a couple weeks ago, my friend Matt Lockett (Exec. Dir. of Bound4LIfe) told me God told him to not take his eyes off the blood this year. So, Matt has himself in an intense study of the blood of Christ. I invite him to add his two cents to this post. Matt said he’s asking pastors all over America this question… “You went to seminary didn’t you? (Yes.) Well, I went to art school so maybe you can help me with this… why did Jesus have to shed his blood?” Matt reports the majority bumble a response but have no real answer to this question.
A bit nervous now that it was my turn to answer his question, I gave just a few sentences and a few scriptures and asked if I passed the test. He said yes. So, here in post two of this mini-series the Ugly Side of Easter I turn your attention to:
WHY DID JESUS HAVE TO SHED HIS BLOOD?
The Bible says “the life is in the blood” and that “the wages of sin is death.” Scripture also says “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin.” Therefore, to pay the penalty for sin somebody’s life would be required. Jesus, in our stead, gave his life and shed his blood on the cross so we could live. His shed blood speaks a better word than the shed blood of Abel, of any other man, or the blood of bulls and goats. In the Old Testament, high priests would enter the most holy place and sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the atonement cover (mercy seat) of the altar. There was no access to this place of God’s presence without a blood sacrifice. The blood provided the only adequate covering (atonement) for human sin. Jesus’ blood was the ultimate sacrifice. Full forgiveness for sin, and full access to God is available only through his shed blood. If there were another way or multiple ways for people to enter into a right relationship with God besides Jesus dying on the cross, God would not have let his Son go through the agony. That’s a hard word for people who want to believe all religions will lead to God, but nothing but the Blood of Jesus washes away sin.
There is a great download on the Bound4Life website of the old hymn – What Can Wash Away My Sin? The story behind the hymn is that it’s been around for years but these past 3 1/2 years it’s been sung every day in front of the Supreme Court by intercessors praying for the ending of abortion. They plead a better blood than the shed blood of 50 million unborn babies. They are pleading to a higher court. After taking communion they sing this hymn. I’ve been there with them… God is all over this. The hymn originally was set in a major key but they shifted the old hymn to “a minor key because the minor key opens a different door than the major key has in the past.” I believe that door is contrition and true repentance. Hope this song and these thoughts really help you focus on the Blood of Jesus this week and next.