From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Twenty-Five, Day Four
Without a Redeemer willing and able to pay the high price necessary to liberate us from the power of sin, the story of our lives in this world would be nothing but a story of hopelessness. But because of Christ's redemptive love, we look forward with hope to a day when the world itself will be completely liberated from the power of sin and death.
Until then we can express our faith in Christ by echoing the words of Scripture: "I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And . . . in my flesh I will see God" (Job 19:25-26).
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. >Mark 10:45
Praying the Name
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center before the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God's people.
And they sang a new song, saying:
"You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God members of every tribe and language and people and nation." Revelation 5:6-9
Reflect On: Revelation 5:6-9.
Praise God: For his mighty acts of redemption.
Offer Thanks: Because of how highly Christ values you.
Confess: Any tendency to forget what Christ has already done for you.
Ask God: To help you share your faith with others.
In his best-selling book In His Image, coauthored with Philip Yancey, the renowned surgeon Paul Brand pointed out that modern people often have difficulty relating to the blood symbolism of the Old and New Testaments. Unlike traditional societies, people in the modern world don't usually butcher their own food nor do they make animal sacrifices or seal contracts through the shedding of blood. Old hymns that speak of "a fountain filled with blood" or being "washed in the blood of the Lamb" or the "wonder-working power in the blood" tend to repulse or mystify rather than to inspire. Most of us prefer that the sticky red substance stays right where it belongs, pumping along inside our veins. How, then, do we make sense of all the New Testament references to blood, such as drinking Jesus' blood, being justified by his blood, being redeemed by his blood, being purchased by his blood, being purified by his blood, being sprinkled with his blood, and making peace through his blood?
Modern medicine has confirmed what ancient people knew instinctively — that life is in the blood. Blood provides our bodies with the oxygen and nutrients we need to survive. Without blood we couldn't keep warm or cool down, couldn't fight off infections, and couldn't rid ourselves of waste products that would otherwise poison us. Little wonder then that Jesus equated his blood with eternal life.
In his book Paul Brand confesses that he never intended to become a physician. But one day he had an experience while enrolled in a training course in tropical medicine that would prepare him to do missionary work in India. It changed his life. A beautiful young woman was suddenly rushed unconscious into the ward where he was working. She had lost a lot of blood in an accident. One of the attending physicians quickly thrust a blood pressure cuff into Paul's hands, but Paul couldn't locate a pulse. Here is his account of what happened: She looked like a waxwork Madonna or an alabaster saint in a cathedral. Her lips, too, were pallid. . . . I felt sure she was dead. The nurse arrived with a bottle of blood, which she buckled into a high metal stand as the doctor punctured the woman's vein with a large needle. . . . The staff told me to keep watch over the emptying bottle while they scurried off for more blood.
Nothing in my memory can compare to the excitement of what happened next. Certainly the precise details of that scene remain vividly with me to this day. As I nervously held her wrist while the others were gone, suddenly I could feel the faintest press of a pulse. Or was it my own pulse? I searched again — it was there, barely perceptible but regular, at least. The next bottle of blood arrived and was quickly connected. A spot of pink appeared on her cheek and spread into a beautiful flush. Her lips darkened pink, then red, and her body quivered in a kind of sighing breath.
Then her eyelids fluttered lightly and at last parted. She squinted at first, as her pupils adjusted to the bright lights of the room, and at last she looked directly at me. . . . That young woman entered my life for only an hour or so, but the experience left me utterly changed. I had seen a miracle: the creation of Eve when breath entered into and animated her body, the raising of Lazarus.
Like the young woman who was verging on death when Paul Brand first encountered her, some of us have experienced stunning transformations as the result of Jesus' redemptive sacrifice. Through a divine transfusion of his love and mercy, we have literally been transferred from death to life. Thank Christ today for loving you to the point of shedding his blood. Ask him for the grace to share his love by telling others the story of what he has done for you.
Meet your spiritual ancestors as they really were: Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them.