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Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Blood-Washed Band

"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." -- I John 1:7

The shed blood of Jesus on the Cross is one of the most important aspects of Christianity. The concept is rooted in ancient Hebrew teaching of blood sacrifices for the sins of the people. A spotless lamb had to be sacrificed and its blood sprinkled around the altar in order to atone for the all of the sins of God's people. Through this they would find forgiveness.

Many people today find the concept of the blood of Jesus to be off-putting. The claim is often made that such a manner of thinking makes Christianity a blood-thirsty religion or that God himself is blood-thirsty.

But one must understand the concept within context of ancient Hebrew peoples, who were nomads, wandering pilgrims in a primitive society, until they were led to settle in the 'Promised Land,' which we know today as Israel.

Thus, for the ancient Hebrews a sacrificial lamb who was offered as a sacrifice was a solace to guilt-ridden sinners. The New Testament presents Jesus Christ as that spotless, sacrificial lamb, offered once and for all for our sins. It would be His blood that would be sprinkled around the alter of our hearts, symbolically speaking. The act is perceived by Christians as the ultimate love of God for His imperfect children who need to feel forgiven.

Several possible symbolic images are presented as a way of understanding the blood of Christ:
**The blood satisfied the requirement that a sacrificial lamb be offered..
**The blood is understood as the washing and cleansing of the human heart.
**The blood is often presented as the concept of 'substitutionary atonement,' that is, Christ died and shed His blood on our behalf, insuring that we would not have to endure the penalty for sins.
**The blood is understood by many as the purchase price for fallen human beings who are enslaved to the dark forces of evil. According to this understanding, Jesus purchased us out of slavery to sin and made us His own, by His own blood.
**The blood is a symbol of life. Thus, the shedding of Christ's blood on the Cross is understood as 'life-giving'--or in other words, the blood is the essence of all human life, and thus, by shedding His own blood, Christ is symbolizing the life-giving nature of our faith in Him.

These are but a few explanations and interpretations for the blood of Christ. But one thing is for sure, as Christians, we are, indeed, part of 'the blood-washed band.'

Prayer: 'Dear Father, we thank you for your precious blood that cleanses us, makes us clean and pure within, and frees us to live within your spiritual life-giving power. In your name we pray, Amen.'

Song: "Blood Washed Band." This is a special treat and it has always been a special favorite of mine. This video is of the Cathedral Quartet at their very best, at the top of their game. I always received a special blessing by listening to this song. I hope you enjoy it.  

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