This morning (Friday morning) I had a meeting with Vitalant blood services concerning our blood drive that is occurring here on August 22. We started hosting blood drives as part of our church calendar in the summer of 2020. At the time I felt it was critical for us to find ways to lean into the crisis that was happening all around us and to touch people’s hearts and lives in helpful and meaningful ways. This blood drive we’re hosting will be our fifth blood drive. We haven’t had one for a while as last March I had a melanoma skin cancer removed from my right shoulder, which meant that I wasn’t eligible to donate blood for a year. I am a person that believes in not asking people to do something I’m not willing or unavailable to do myself. I believe it’s a very good thing to donate blood, as blood is life-giving, and one donated pint can greatly impact other people’s lives. Donating blood also reminds me of the greatest donation of blood that has ever been made in human history, and that was the donation of Jesus’s blood which was made as a payment for our sins. The Scriptures repeatedly remind us of the importance of the shedding of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We read in Hebrews, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”, (Heb.9:22 NIV). There are many similar references in Scripture to the importance of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that it would be impossible to capture the essence of all the amazing indications of what the blood of Christ has done in a short blog. Peter has two very significant passages that I’d like to briefly comment on. First, we read referring to the believers in the first century, “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the spirit, for the obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkled by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance,” (1 Peter 1:2 NIV). Not only does this passage speak of the Trinity, but it also describes what God has done through his Son and sprinkling us with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Later in the same chapter Peter states, “for you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake”, (1 Peter1:18-21 NIV). Jesus demonstrated God’s love for us in His shedding His blood to redeem us. His sacrifice for our sins was not an afterthought or something God decided to do because the world was spinning out of control. It was God’s desired plan from eternity past.
John also shares a similar insight in his little epistle when he writes, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin,” ( 1 John 1:7 NIV). All the sacrifices in the Old Testament were pointing to the true Lamb of God who would come to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Those sacrifices anticipated a day when the true Lamb of God would shed His blood to remove all of our sins.
If Jesus gave His blood for us, shouldn’t His sacrifice also be a source of inspiration to encourage us to donate blood for the health and life of others? Jesus as our example should inspire us in so many areas of our lives. Before one of our church family had a major health crisis back in the fall of 2011, I had never donated blood. In fact, when we held a blood drive to help Sandra F. that was the first time I donated blood. Previously I had always been very fearful of needles, but thankfully I must celebrate with you that that is a thing of the past. The last time I was actually able to even donate a double portion of my blood, as I have a health condition where my bones seem to be producing too much blood. Rather than have a phlebotomist withdraw blood to throw away, I’d much rather donate my blood for the health and safety of others. Won’t you join me on August 22 in endeavoring to have an impact on people’s lives in a very personal way?
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus,
Pastor Rich Sivo