The blood of Jesus!  We talk about it.  We sing about it.  We use the words in our affirmations and in our prayers.  But do we really understand why these precious words have such an important place in the Christian faith?

The blood of Jesus!  We talk about it.  We sing about it.  We use the words in our affirmations and in our prayers.  But do we really understand why these precious words have such an important place in the Christian faith?

Picture with me a scene in ancient Egypt.  As heavy darkness falls, Israelite men stand before their houses.  With makeshift brushes, they furtively paint the sides and tops of the doorframes with blood, forming a perfect cross.

The blood is that of an unblemished lamb, and the men are following exact instructions given by God.  When their job is completed, they retire inside their houses to wait for the answer to God's promise.

The Scripture:  Exodus 12:12-13

"On that same night I (God) will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.  I am the Lord.  The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.  No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt."

1.  What did God say He would do to the Egyptians?

2.  What would He do for the Israelites?

That night God would free His people after 400 years of slavery.  Everything happened just as God said, and today Passover is still celebrated in the Jewish religion, although the people do not fully understand all the implications of the celebration.

That night, the blood of a perfect lamb kept the Israelites safe and purchased their freedom.  Today, the blood of a more perfect Lamb purchases our freedom.

Why We Need the Blood

No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape the fact that we are sinners.

The Scripture:  Romans 3:23

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

3.  Who has sinned according to this verse?

All—every man, woman and child—every person born on the face of this earth is born a sinner.

Admittedly, some people are greater sinners than others.  However...

4.  What does this same verse tell us?

All fall short of the glory of God.  We are sinners because we are born with a sin nature that causes us to sin.  If you like, think of that sin nature as a defective gene that is passed from generation to generation.

You see, no matter how much God loves us, because He is holy and righteous, He cannot stand in the presence of sin.  Thus, our sin causes an impassible gulf—a separation—between God and us.  Does that mean everything is lost?  If it were just up to us, it would mean exactly that.  But God in His mercy planned a way out for us.  Since we could not bridge that gulf between us, He would do it Himself—through His Son Jesus.

The Scripture: John 3:16,17

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him."

5.  What did God do?

6.  Why did He do this?

7.  What did Jesus' coming give us?

It restored us to fellowship with God.

8.  What is the one requirement?

Jesus' coming bridged the gap that separated a righteous God from an unrighteous people.  Jesus did what we couldn't do.

How did He do this?

The Scripture:  Romans 5:9

"Since we now have been justified by his blood..."

9.  What did Jesus do?

The Amplified Bible describes justification as being acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God.  We've said in other studies that being justified is like God giving us all of His righteousness.

The Scripture:  Ephesians 2:13

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Jesus."

10.  What did Jesus do?

The Scripture:  Hebrews 10:19-22

"Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith."

11.  What does the blood of Jesus give us the confidence to do?

Jesus' death not only brought us near to God, but into the very Holy Place where God dwells.

12.  How should we draw near to God?

Perhaps you're wondering why Jesus had to die.  Why couldn't God just forgive us?  We find the answer to that question in the book of Hebrews.

The Scripture:  Hebrews 9:22

"Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

13.  What is necessary to receive forgiveness?

Yes, before we could be forgiven—someone had to die for us—someone without any sin.  By dying on the cross, Jesus paid for our forgiveness.  The Bible explains and amplifies this in many different ways.

The Scripture: 1John 2:2 (The Amplified Bible)

"He [that same Jesus Himself] is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for [the sins of] the whole world."

14.  What two things does this verse call Jesus?

The words propitiation and atoning sacrifice are closely related.  The propitiation is the payment made that took away God's wrath towards those who believe in Christ.  As the atoning sacrifice or atonement Jesus is the One who brings sinners into right relationship with God.

What Else Jesus' Blood Did For Us

But what we've looked at so far is only a small part of what Jesus did for us when He shed His blood on the cross.  Let's see what else Scripture can tell us about His sacrifice.

The Scripture:  Ephesians 1:7-10

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.  And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."

15.  What else did Christ accomplish for us through the shedding of His blood?

When we redeem something, we buy it back!  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they sold themselves and all who came after them to Satan.  With the shedding of His blood, Jesus nullified that act and bought us back from Satan.

16.  What is the mystery God has made known?

The Apostle Paul has more to say about this in the book of Colossians.

The Scripture:  Colossians 1:19,20

"For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him [Jesus], and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross."

17.  How did God plan to reconcile all things to Himself?

The Scripture:  Hebrews 9:14

"How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God."

In this scripture the writer of the book of Hebrews contrasts the effectiveness of the blood of goats and bulls with that of the blood of Jesus.

18.  What can the blood of Christ do?

19.  What does this enable us to do?

The Scripture:  Hebrews 13:12

"And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood."

20.  What was another reason Jesus died for us?

The Scripture:  Revelation 5:9-10

"With Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God."

21.  What did Jesus purchase with His blood?

22.  What did He make us to be?

Some versions of the Bible translate this last section to say, a kingdom of priests."  Paul said this same thing in a slightly different way.

The Scripture:  Acts 20:28

"Be shepherds of the church of God which He bought with His own blood."

23.  What does Paul say Jesus bought with his blood?

Jesus did one more important thing for us when He shed His blood.

The Scripture:  Hebrews 13:20

"May the God of peace...equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ.”

24.  What is Paul's prayer?

What the Blood of Jesus Does For Us Today

The blood of Jesus continues to work on our behalf today.  In the Eucharist, our Communion service, which Jesus inaugurated shortly before His death, the blood of Jesus continues to give us life today."

The Scripture:  Luke 22:19, 20

"He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them (the disciples), saying, 'This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'  In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.' "

25.  What did Jesus say the cup of wine was?

The Scripture:  1 Corinthians 11:26

"Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes."

26.  What are we doing when we take communion?

Paul has some strong warnings about taking the Eucharist unworthily.

The Scripture:  1 Corinthians 11:29, 30

"Anyone who eats and drinks (the Lord's supper) without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.  That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep (died)." 

28.  What can be the result?

The Scripture:  1 Corinthians 11:28

"A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup."

29.  What should we do before we have Communion?

These are sober words.  They show us in what high regard God considers the sacrifice Jesus made for us by shedding His blood.  Yes, before we take Communion, we should ask God to show us anything in our hearts that is displeasing to Him and ask His forgiveness.  It is not difficult to understand why the blood of Jesus takes such a significant place in the Christian faith.  Let us always remember what it has done and continues to do for us today.

The Answers

  1. Strike down every firstborn and bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt
  2. Pass over the houses that were painted with blood and not strike them with plagues
  3. All
  4. All fall short of the glory of God.
  5. He sent His Son into the world.
  6. Because He loved the world
  7. Eternal life
  8. To believe in the Son
  9. Justified us by His blood
  10. Brought us near to God
  11. Enter the Most Holy Place
  12. With a sincere heart in full assurance of faith
  13. The shedding of blood
  14. The propitiation and the atoning sacrifice
  15. Redemption, the forgiveness of sins
  16. God's plan to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under Christ
  17. By making peace through the shed blood of Jesus
  18. Cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death
  19. Serve the living God
  20. To make us holy through His own blood
  21. Men for God from every tribe, language, people, and nation
  22. A kingdom and priests to serve our God
  23. The church of God
  24. That the blood will equip us with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ
  25. The new covenant of His blood
  26. Proclaiming the Lord's death until He comes
  27. He drinks judgment upon himself
  28. We can become weak and sick, even die
  29. Examine ourselves

All scripture quotations in this publication are from the Holy Bible, New International Version
(unless otherwise indicated)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, New International Bible Society
Copyright © 2000 by JoAnne Sekowsky