John 10:10b – I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (NIV 2011)
A friend returned from a blood donor clinic sporting a red Band-Aid® with the words "I gave life". That made me think about blood and how important it is.
Blood is life. By the fifth week of pregnancy — the first week that a mother might suspect that she may be pregnant — an unborn baby, the size of a sesame seed, already has a heart circulating blood through blood vessels. As we die, our blood pressure drops dramatically.
Leviticus 17:11 – 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. (NIV 2011)
The first blood sacrifice occurred just after Adam and Eve sinned. They realized that they were naked, and they hid because they were ashamed. They had time to repent, but instead, they were quick to lay blame. God sacrificed an animal to make clothing for them. Its innocent blood was shed for them.
Pagan rites included human sacrifice and drinking blood in order to commune with their gods. The Israelites also desired a relationship with their God, but heathen rituals were forbidden to them. God set out His own requirements regarding animal sacrifices for sin and guilt, for purification and cleansing, and for thanksgiving and peace. We cannot have a relationship with God if there is sin on our part.
God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his long-awaited son. At the last moment, God provided a ram instead. The animal was symbolic of Christ, God's only Son, Who would be sacrificed for our sins.
Before the Israelites were allowed to leave Egypt, they were told to sprinkle a lamb's blood around their doors in order to save the lives of their firstborn sons. The blood was a sign for God — and death — to pass over them.
At the Passover before Jesus was crucified, He established the tradition that we call Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper.
Luke 22:20 – After the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." (NIV 2011)
He shed His own innocent blood on the cross for our sins. He took all our sins on Himself and became the sacrificial Lamb. By so doing, He gave us His life.
John 3:36a – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. (NIV 2011)
On the third day, Jesus rose from the grave. He was victorious over death! Because of Jesus, our sins are forgiven, and we can live with God throughout eternity.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Prayer: Lamb of God, what greater love is there than when one person sacrifices their life for another? As a Man, You gave Your life for us. As sinners, we didn't deserve that, but that's how much You love us. How can we thank You, except to know You and obey You? Worthy is the Lamb! Amen!
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Listen while you read: "Hosanna Loud Hosanna" (Lyrics)