A few weeks ago, I donated blood for the first time. Donating is a really cool experience, and much more rewarding than I thought it would be. There’s something about knowing you’ve saved a life that gives you an incredible feeling. I highly recommend it. However, that’s not the important part. What’s important is that the more I looked into what blood does in our bodies and what donated blood can do for the recipient, the more I appreciated just how beautiful Jesus’ sacrifice for us was and is. (The way God interweaves His design for creation with His plans never ceases to amaze me!) God could have planned to save us any way He liked, but He chose to do it through blood. Looking at a few different functions of blood in our bodies can give us an incredible perspective of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Blood gives us what we need. Of course, the circulation of blood through our hearts and veins is what keeps us alive, but why? The answer is a little protein called hemoglobin. Oxygen molecules bind to hemoglobin, which carries them in the blood stream to the rest of our bodies’ cells so that they can function. The point is that blood keeps us alive by giving us what we need to survive. Jesus’ blood does the exact same thing for us spiritually. We are imperfect and incomplete people, and without him we are dying in our own sin. Take a look at Colossians 2:13: “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.” We’re dead without Christ, but when we follow Him, he gives us what we need: forgiveness. Through this forgiveness, we are able to stay alive spiritually.
Blood cleanses. Our blood doesn’t just supply the things we need; it takes away the things we don’t. Plasma, the liquid part of the blood, carries waste products such as carbon dioxide to outlets where they can be flushed out of our bodies so we can stay healthy. This is just as important as supplying our needs. A body can have everything it needs to survive, but if it retains harmful waste products, it will still be in danger. The influence of Christ’s blood on our lives, too, causes us to flush out the spiritually detrimental aspects of our thoughts and actions. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature,” and James 1:21 says that by “putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness,” we can “in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save [our] souls.” This complete change, this removal of the bad, is essential if we are to stay spiritually healthy. According to 1 John 1:6-7, “If we say that we have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light, as He Himself, is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” If we go on sinning willfully, Jesus’ blood does us no good, but if we repent of the sin problems in our lives and strive to fix them, He will continue to remove our transgressions.
Blood protects. A third major function of the blood is to fight off invader diseases in the body. White blood cells literally fight a small-scale war in our bodies in order to protect us from pathogens and other intruders. Jesus’ blood also offers us an immense amount of protection spiritually. He protects us from the Devil (2 Thessalonians 3:3), from anxiety (Philippians 4:7), and of course, from eternal death (Romans 6:23). Of course, white blood cells are physical and can therefore fail us, but Jesus is steadfast and sure. As long as we are entrusting ourselves completely to Him, He will not fail to save us (2 Timothy 1:12, Hebrews 13:5-6).
When I gave blood, I had to answer a few questions to make sure my blood was pure enough to be able to help the person who received it. (On a side note, I find it interesting that most of the things that make our physical blood impure, like STDs, result from sinful actions… coincidence?) Jesus’ blood was the purest blood there ever was (Hebrews 9:14). After all, if Jesus’ blood was just as impure as the blood of those who needed it, how could it be of any help to us? However, just as my healthy blood will help someone with a disease or another need, Jesus’ blood is able to save our spiritual lives.
Finally the moment of truth came. I sat down in the big reclined chair, and within minutes they were sucking my blood. I was shocked. It didn’t hurt at all. That, my friends, is where my analogy falls apart. Jesus went through more pain in the course of a few hours than most of us will go through in our entire lives, all to give us His incredible, perfect, life-giving blood. He didn’t have to do it. He could have given up on us. He could have decided we weren’t worth it, but that’s not what He did. He gives life to any dying man or woman who wants it. Jesus Christ is the ultimate blood donor.
By Melissa Hite
Melissa (age 16) attends Bear Valley church of Christ with her parents, Michael and Lynn, and her little brother, Matthew. Her goals include continually growing closer to God and eventually becoming a writer and a mom. On her blog, Christ Crossed My Heart, you can find other poignant, well-written posts.