I was developing a game for our church’s Christmas celebration, and I needed some photos for the game cards. In my search, I came across the one pictured above and noticed that the label says, “Volunteer Donor.” I wonder if that is an important designation. Are there non-volunteer donors? How do you get selected for that assignment?
But being the Christmas season, I think it’s appropriate for us to remember that there was an ultimate “Volunteer Donor.” His name is Jesus Christ, and He volunteered to donate His blood a few thousand years ago so that we might be reunited with our Lord and Creator.
But why blood? It seems so creepy! All those Christian songs about the blood washing us clean and making us white as snow… It seems really weird. Why couldn’t Jesus just give us a “Get Out of Jail Free” card?
I’ll admit, it’s a hard concept to get our 21st century minds around. Most of us don’t come in contact with blood on a daily basis unless we are avid fans of CSI, Law and Order, Dexter or Bones. Even so, we all know that it’s precious…that without it, there is no life. We take it for granted until the day we are in a serious accident or when a friend is in the hospital. Then, we begin to grasp how essential it is.
God set the standard in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they tried to cover their shame with fig leaves. God replaced their itchy undergarments with animal skins, because they were a more perfect covering and because He was illustrating that only a blood sacrifice would cover their sin.
It’s why Cain’s sacrifice of produce wasn’t acceptable to God and why Abel’s animal sacrifice was. It’s why God required daily animal sacrifices from the Hebrews. It’s why He also required an annual atonement sacrifice where the high priest would sprinkle animal blood over the cover of the ark of the covenant. Only a blood sacrifice covers sin.
The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death.” This means that when you sin, you earn death. The debt of death has to be paid. Blood has to be spilled. In the Old Testament, God allowed men to pay their debt by killing certain animals. Killing other humans wouldn’t work, because they had their own sin debt deserving of death. We know this from Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
The death had to be of someone/something innocent. No humans were innocent – not even babies, because they were born with a sin nature. In other words, they inherited sinfulness from their parents. It can be hard to see in a precious infant, but it’s there. It just takes a little while for the infant to be able to communicate his or her selfishness.
Animals are always innocent, because they don’t have free will. They can’t choose to sin, because they don’t know the difference between moral right and wrong. They can learn consequences, but they can’t learn to modify their behavior based on a moral code. So, animal blood is always innocent. It can pay the debt that men earn by sinning.
The problem is that animal blood only pays the debt for a short time. Eventually, you have to sacrifice another animal, and then another, and then another… It never ends. Unless…. Unless there could be a perfect sacrifice – one that wouldn’t wear out – one that would pay the debt for all time. That’s where Jesus comes in.
God gave the Hebrews the animal sacrifice as a model to point them toward the perfect sacrifice that Christ would make on the cross. He was demonstrating that we needed a Savior, one that would end the need for daily and annual sacrifices of innocent blood.
But why is Jesus’ blood perfect? Because He is the only man who has ever lived without sin. He didn’t inherit sinfulness from His parents, because He was conceived from the Holy Spirit. He lived His entire life without giving in to temptation. At the end of His life, He had no sin debt to pay for Himself, so He was able to offer His payment (the innocent shedding of blood) for those He loved – namely you and me.
Blood is life. Without it, your physical body could no longer sustain itself. But the blood of Jesus is Life! Spiritual Life! It doesn’t sustain the physical body; it sustains the spirit and gives us the hope of new Life here on earth and everlasting Life in heaven after our physical bodies give out. The blood of our Volunteer Donor pays our sin debt. It IS our “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
That should give you a very Merry Christmas, indeed!