Posted by: Heather | February 10, 2011

The Greatest Love

 

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and our thoughts begin to turn toward love.  When we talk about love in our society today, it’s a term we use very loosely.  We say we ‘love’ things like a food or activity instead of saying it’s something we enjoy.  We say we love our spouses, our children, and friends, to describe the wonderful feelings we have toward them.   The idea of love also brings us visions of hearts.  At this time of year, we see hearts everywhere…in the form of boxes of candy lining the aisles of stores, and cards with beautiful pictures.

All of these things are good.  But, the greatest demonstration of love wasn’t a beautiful scene.  We get all of these flowery images in our heads about the love of God.  Don’t get me wrong…His love is wonderful and great to think about.   But the true demonstration of His love was not a beautiful thing to look upon.  When we think of love, blood usually doesn’t come to mind, but His love, the greatest love ever demonstrated, was by blood.

How is blood used to demonstrate love?  Even back in Genesis, after the first sin ever committed in the garden, a sacrifice was made to cover that sin.  Blood was shed for the first time as man’s atonement.   There’s a principle in the Old Testament that shows us the importance of blood and why it’s sacred.   God gave this command to Noah and his family when they left the ark.

Gen 9:6 (NLT) …you must execute anyone who murders another person, for to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God’s image.

Blood is sacred because humans are made in the image of God, and to murder someone is take the life (blood)  of one made in His image.  To kill someone (one biblical term is ‘to shed innocent blood’) was such a serious crime that a relative of the victim was able to avenge their family member by killing the murderer.  The only way for someone to avoid being killed after committing murder was to flee to a city of refuge.  We see this when Moses killed the Egyptian in Exodus 2.  When he realized someone saw him kill another, he fled to Midian because Pharoah wanted to kill him.

After the Israelites were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, God began to give them commandments to live by.  These commands touched all levels of life, from national law all the way down to personal circumstances.  Blood was spoken of often and in great detail, as far as how it was to be handled, and the fact that consuming it was forbidden.  The prohibition was so strong that God said He would cut off anyone from the nation who consumed blood in any form.

Leviticus 17:10-12 (NLT)  And I will turn against anyone, whether an Israelite or a foreigner living among you, who eats or drinks blood in any form.   I will cut off such a person from the community, for the life of any creature is in its blood.  I have given you the blood so you can make atonement for your sins.  It is the blood, representing life,  that brings you atonement.  This is why I said to the Israelites:  You and the foreigners who live among you must never eat or drink blood.

When a person brought a sacrifice for sin, this was the general procedure.  The animal was brought to the entrance of the Tabernacle.  The person would lay his hand on the animal’s head,  representing the transfer of sin from him to the animal…in other words, the animal would bear his sin.  Then the person would slaughter the animal himself.  The blood was drained, and offered to God as a substitute…the innocent animal would die in the place of the guilty human.

We see this principle repeated throughout the Bible.   Hebrews 9:22   (NLT) says ‘Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.’

Because sin is committed by free will, atonement was also made by free will.  It was the personal choice of the one bringing the sacrifice to bring it.  He made the choice to shed the blood of the animal to substitute for him.  The blood was intended to lead the one who committed sin back to a place of being in communion with God.

In that day, it was believed that the soul of someone was connected with their blood.  Blood is the basis of human life, and every process in the body is dependent on healthy blood.

Blood has two basic functions.  It carries nutrients to our cells, and carries waste away from the cells.  When we breathe, we take oxygen into our lungs.  The component of blood called hemoglobin is what grabs that oxygen and carries it through the bloodstream to every part of the body.  When blood tests are done for hemoglobin, they are basically testing how effectively your body can get oxygen to the cells.  If hemoglobin is low, the body cannot effectively get oxygen to the cells as it should.  That’s why low hemoglobin is great cause for concern, and requires a transfusion.   As the blood travels, it ‘drops off’ oxygen and ‘picks up’ waste products that are brought back to the lungs and other filtering organs where the body eliminates them, either by breathing them out, or filtering them through another organ.   This is a constant exchange.  If either process stops (the carrying of nutrients or the removal of toxins), toxins will build up in the body that can’t be eliminated.  Without this exchange, you die.

Blood is special…it does a work in our body that no other fluid can do.   It literally brings life to our bodies, and cleansing from things we don’t need…things that cause our body to function less than normally.  The things that blood does in our physical bodies are exactly the same things that the blood of Jesus does for us spiritually.  He brings us life, and He works in us to clear away the things that interfere with a full, abundant life in Him.

Only the blood of Jesus, given by His own free will, could once and for all bring atonement for our sin.   Jesus said in John 15:13-14  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Lev 17:11  (NLT) It is the blood, representing life, that brings you atonement.

The greatest love ever demonstrated brought us life.   The life is in the blood…of Jesus.

 

© Copyright Notice: Permission is hereby granted to make copies as long as Promised Land Ministries is properly cited and credited as the author.  http://www.promisedland-ministries.com

 

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Responses

  1. Well said Heather!


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