We are currently in a sermon series at Wellspring that is about a journey that is built entirely on trust. It is the journey of the children of Israel delivered from Egypt and moving toward the land of promise. It is the story of Moses’s call, the deliverance of God’s people from Pharaoh’s oppressive hand, and the journey that follows. It is finally a story about a sacred relationship between the people of God and the God who loves them and has called them.
As we gather for one combined service this week, we will be gathering at tables as we recall the sacred meal of Jesus that is based upon the passover feast. We will be hearing about Moses and the plagues, and we will remember the night of the first passover. This is when the people of Israel were instructed to put lamb’s blood on the door posts and the header over the top of the door, and with that, the angel of death that came to take the first-born from every household passed over the houses marked with lamb’s blood.
While this ancient way of thinking about blood and sacrifice are foreign (if not repugnant) to us, the idea of blood for sacrifice and deliverance made their way into the life of Christ. Jesus was faced with the understanding that blood was required for people to be saved … to be passed over by death … and in order to shut the door finally on death, Jesus offered his own blood that we might be saved. This image brings to mind a God whom we do not understand or necessarily worship today. After all, a God who is love surely would not demand a blood sacrifice just to be appeased.
But there is another angle on this that I want to explore. And this new understanding is based upon what the ancients believed about blood.
We have a very scientific view of what blood is and how it contributes to biological life. Blood is the vehicle that carries nutrients to the muscles and tissues throughout the body. Blood is the vehicle that cleanses the body of impurities and delivers those impurities to the liver and the kidneys to be filtered out. Blood is essential to our biological life.
To the ancients, who did not have a scientific understanding about the nature of blood, however, blood was quite simply … LIFE! They understood, as do we, that when blood leaves the body, the body dies. What that meant for them was that the essence of life was in the blood itself. When we bleed, we are pouring our life out of our bodies.
It is with this understanding that I have come to understand the nature of the sacrifice of Jesus. My understanding of the death of Jesus wasn’t that it was necessary in order to appease some sadistic, blood-starved deity; rather, the death of Jesus was necessary in order to share the gift of his life with us. The sacrifice of Jesus is itself the sharing of life and the invitation to share in life that is more than just living and breathing.
The life to which we are called is to be lived wholly in God. It is a life where we live in sacred relationship … covenant … with God and with one another. It is a life that is abundant and eternal. And it is made possible because Jesus gave his own blood … his own life … as a gift to us.
So as we hear the story of the Passover and the deliverance of the children of Israel … the people of the first covenant … I pray that we will consider how the blood of Christ … the life of Christ … is offered at our own doorposts. That is the covenant of blood that brings us abundant life. Stop and take a look … does the life of Christ adorn the doorpost of your own life? When it does, you will experience the sweetness of deliverance and the joy of a life lived in love!