19:34 "But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out."
Longer ago than I want to admit I stopped by my college dorm to see if a friend of mine wanted to go out for something to eat. She was game to go on one condition, that we stop on the way and donate blood at the blood drive in town. I had never given blood before and hated needles but it was a good cause so I agreed to go. Then she asked me when I had eaten last. It was early evening and I hadn't eaten since breakfast. She told me you have to have eaten within 3 hours before giving blood. She gave me two small boxes of raisins and away we went. Like I said I had never given blood before so the whole process was brand new. You had to go to several stations to answer different questions about your health and lifestyle and at each station they asked "Have you eaten within the last three hours?" Each time I said yes. The last station was a long questionnaire about your sexual history. They gave you the paper and sent you into a private booth to answer it. I was shocked by the nature and specificity of the questions. It was clear they really wanted to know what kind of blood I would be giving. How much risk would be involved in taking blood from me and giving it to someone else. I completed the questionnaire and after they reviewed it I was approved to give and went to the final station where a woman was waiting to take my blood. Again I was asked "Have you eaten in the last three hours?" Again I said yes. I had two boxes of raisins after all...
I laid down on the bed and she took my blood and asked how I was feeling. I felt great. I sat up. She again asked how I was feeling. I still felt great. She said I could go. I stood up and took maybe three steps and the room began to spin and then everything went black and the next time I was aware of anything I was on the floor looking up into the face of the woman who took my blood. She had some juice for me to drink and a snack. The first thing she said was "You haven't eaten in the last three hours have you?"
Blood - it's in you to give. That's the slogan for Canadian blood services. Why do they want our blood? Why do they take such precautions to make sure our blood is worth taking?
The Bible answers these questions very succinctly: "The life is in the blood". No blood equals no life. The wrong blood equals disease and perhaps disaster and death for the one who receives it. Our blood is a carrier of who we are. Whatever we have done to abuse ourselves is carried in our blood. Blood is serious business. To give blood to a person who needs it is to infuse life into them.
The Bible says lots about blood. Most significantly it says without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sins. (Hebrews 9:22)
What does such a gory symbol really mean? Certain cancer patients have to go through a procedure where their own blood is removed and replaced with healthy blood. It's literally an exchange of death for life because the life is in the blood.
Are you ready?
Back in the desert between Egypt and Canaan the Israelites ran out of water and we're going to die. God instructed Moses to strike the rock and when he did a river of water came pouring out. The water saved their lives but it did not change them. Water will fuel the body you have but it won't change the health status of your body because the life is in the blood. Water is also a powerful symbol for washing but again water only washed away surface issues and what remains is what we always were. Water can clean but it can't change because the life is in the blood.
The Rock represented Jesus. He is the water of life. We need water more than anything else to stay alive but we need more than to stay alive. We need new life. Fast forward to the cross. Jesus is different now. He has become sin for us. This time when the soldier strikes the Rock water AND blood flow out.
The act of Jesus becoming one of us and living with us and being tempted in every way like we are yet being without sin has made it possible for Him to offer us blood that has been exposed to our disease yet untainted by it. His blood is the antidote for sin. The life giving antibodies are in His blood alone. His life is in His blood. The symbolism/imagery is powerful. He is exchanging our cursed blood which took His life for the spotless blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the whole world. In the desert all He could give was water. Now He offers both. Death for life.
Indeed "it is finished".
Fruits and vegetables were not acceptable as an offering for Cain because the Life we need is in the blood we can never supply.
"The sacrifices that should have revealed His love were offered instead to appease His wrath."
Religion is not and never was about what we need to do for God. It is and always has been powerful imagery and symbols designed to teach how far heaven has gone for us. Until thr cross we were on life support. Now we have full access to the antidote.
Blood - it was in Him to give.