By Anthony Casperson
Earlier this week, I began reading through the book of Philippians for my personal bible reading. Whenever I come to Philippians for my morning reading, I always have a certain thought. You see, when I was in high school, some of my blood fell onto the first page of Philippians (yes, I’ve had the same bible for my readings for a long time).
When I tried to wipe the blood off of the page, it happened to come off in a vaguely cross-shaped way. As I looked at the page with blood on it for the first time (and every subsequent time since), I thought about how some people, who do not believe in the full inspiration of the bible, like to diminish the act of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. They take the blood out of the bible.
Like there’s some sort of toggle switch that can turn the blood off, similar to what you can in a video game, they try to make the bible merely a book of morals to live by. It’s as if some people presume that the blood is an (unnecessary) option that doesn’t need to be talked about when we look at the bible.
I don’t know if it’s because of some desire to have a “distinguished” religion that doesn’t look into the ugly parts of life, or if there’s just a reluctance to look at the extent to which God had to go in order to take the ugliness of our sins away. No matter the reason, it seems to me that those who diminish the truth of Jesus’ bodily sacrifice want to have a prettier picture to settle their consciences.
But the truth of the matter is that the cross, in all of its gory images, is the glory of God’s plan to rescue humanity from the grasp of our sinful rebellion from him. The ancient, torturous death device of the cross, the blood spilled from the pure Lamb of God, is central to our renewed relationship with God.
All of the blood, every sacrifice, every red drop in the bible points to the sacrifice of Jesus. All the way back to Genesis, God had to sacrifice animals to cover the shame of Adam and Eve. A look in Leviticus 17:11 shows us that God gave blood in order to make atonement for our souls. Blood is necessary to have right relationship with God ever since sin entered the world.
All the way through the bible we see this. Even in the book of Philippians, it’s seen. Philippians 2:5-11 gives an account of God’s plan of salvation. Jesus emptied himself, he gave up his godly rights, so that he could become enfleshed and die on the cross. He humbled himself so much that even death could hold sway over him.
The life-force draining from his body would have been a victory for death, which finds it’s parentage in sin. But God brought victory in this seeming defeat by raising the body given to the second person of the Trinity and exalting him, returning his godly rights. And this was done so that, for the very purpose that, all things would be placed under his control.
Eventually, all things will kneel and confess the truth, willingly or unwillingly. And it all comes down to the blood, the sacrifice of the holy God-man. That one sacrifice was enough to remove the sins of everyone who comes to faith in Jesus, and that means that we can’t toggle off the blood.
Certainly, we shouldn’t go to grotesque proportions akin to manga where enough blood comes out of a small scrape that the person should’ve died 3 times. But the blood of Jesus is important to our relationship with God. It allows us, as Hebrews reminds us, to enter freely into the throne room of God without any mediator other than Jesus and his blood.
The blood isn’t something to downplay, or forget about. It’s not something to toggle off when we don’t want to deal with it. The blood of Jesus is of utmost importance to anyone who desires a right relationship with God.
My bible has blood in it. Does yours?