The Blood of Christ

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The efficacious blood of Christ is a reason that we should always celebrate Easter.


It Works!

A. Fallaize, for many years a missionary in North Africa, addressing a large audience at a missionary meeting, told of a lady missionary whose service in the Gospel led her to visit the tents of nomadic Arabs who passed, and camped near the town where she lived. On one of her visits she came to a tent where a woman stood, engulfed in deep sorrow and anxiety. Entering, she saw lying on a mat on the floor an Arab lad, sick, emaciated and evidently dying of tuberculosis. She asked the mother, `May I tell him a story?' Receiving a nodded assent, she knelt down beside the lad and began to tell the story of the Lord Jesus and his sufferings and death for sinners. She described how he was beaten, crowned with thorns, led out of the city of Jerusalem, nailed to a cross and left to die, and explained simply how He there bore our sins and now lived in Heaven to forgive the sins of those who came to Him. The lad lay with closed eyes, but toward the end of her narration he opened them and appeared to take some interest in the story. She left, to return the next day, when she told the same story, emphasizing the fact that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed on the cross for the forgiveness of the lad's sins if he would only come to Jesus. This time the sick boy showed a greater interest and his face seemed to lighten up toward the end of her narration. Next day, thinking it might be well to introduce something new into her message, she began to tell of the birth of Christ and was describing the place where He was born when the sick lad raised his hand and said, 'Not that! Not that! Tell me about the cross and the blood and the forgiveness of my sins.' And again, the same moving and marvelous story was told.
When the lady missionary returned again, she found the woman still sad and weeping bitterly: but there was no lad on the mat inside her tent. She asked the mother how he had died. The mother, when she saw he was dying, had called the Mohammedan priest who came with his copy of the Koran and began to read aloud to the dying lad. Then she described how he had feebly raised his thin hand and said, 'Not that! Tell me about the cross: about the blood and the forgiveness of sins.'
Imagine that, the story that encourages a dying young man is the story of how the death and crucifixion of a stranger offers forgiveness and eternal life. On the second day that the missionary tells the story he rushes her to the death of Christ and the forgiveness that is offered. Even when the Muslim priest comes, he rejects the Koran and wants to hear the story of Christ and the power of the Blood of Christ!
This morning I want to tell you part of the story of the death, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus to help us understand the amazing power that is available to us.

There is Power, Power, Wonder Working Power in the Blood

The atoning, vicarious death of Jesus Christ for sinful humanity is at the very foundation of the Christian faith. For those who think they can find a better way than God's way, it is not a popular teaching. But there is no other way. Jesus is the only way.”[1] – A.W. Tozer
For those who don’t know, the word ‘atoning’ means to make one. It means to reconcile man to God. And vicarious means in place of, meaning that Jesus took our punishment.
I want to go to the scene with Jesus standing in front of the Roman governor, Pilate.

Jesus Appears Before Pilate

Matthew 27:11–26 NIV
Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
There is a lot that happens in these 15 verses
- Jesus appears before Pilate
- Jesus confirms that He is the King of the Jews
- The crowd is given the option
- The crowd chooses Jesus, but Pilate knows it was out of their own self-interest
- Pilate’s wife’s dream
- Chief priests, elders, and crowd continues to demand his death
- Pilate releases Jesus
- Pilate declares his innocence and washes His hands
- The crowd accept His blood on them
What I want us to focus in on this morning are the 2 responses to Jesus that we see in this passage:
#1 – Pilate Wants to Be Free from the Blood of Jesus (He Isn’t)
#2 – The Jews Don’t Take His Blood Seriously (They Should)

#1 – Pilate Wants to Be Free from the Blood of Jesus (He Isn’t)

Let’s Talk About the Blood of Jesus

A discussion about the blood of Jesus can make some people squirm. Many years ago a man left our service because we were taking communion and discussing the blood and body of Jesus Christ. This was apparently too barbaric! However, he is not alone. In fact, when Jesus told the crowds that unless they drank His blood and ate His body, they would have no part in Him:
John 6:53 NIV
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
The Bible says that many who followed Jesus stopped following Him because of this statement. Apparently, the way of Christ is too barbaric for some. It reminds me of the closing words of a book, The Barbarian Way:
If you choose to live your life in this way, if you make the insane decision to live your life for the sake of others, if you choose to follow the One whose barbarian path led Him to the brutality of the Cross, and if you embrace His invitation to take up your own cross and follow Him, then it has begun. If you dare allow God to unlock your primal spirit, He will unleash the raw and untamed faith within. Then you will know you have chosen the barbarian way out of civilization.[2]
I don’t think that we need to be afraid of the truth about Jesus. The Blood of Jesus is, like Tozer said, “the very foundation of faith.”
Although the majority of our text today tells us about the interaction between Jesus and Pilate, I want to briefly touch on his response. Pilate tried a number of options to avoid the crucifixion of Jesus. Pilate didn’t hold the Jewish leadership in high regard so he didn’t take the allegations against Jesus very seriously, but Jesus would not speak in His own defense. He tried to take advantage of the Jewish custom of releasing a prisoner on the Passover, but the crowd chose a known felon instead. He also would have preferred to heed his wife’s warnings from a prophetic dream, but nothing worked. Ultimately he simply tried to wash his hands of the blood of Jesus.
Don’t think that Pilate was an innocent bystander. Scripture places him right in the thick of things…
Acts 4:27 NIV
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.
Pilate thought that by making no decision he would be free. No man or woman is free to reject the blood of Christ. The Blood of Christ solves a big problem – because of our sin we are separated from God. Let’s read what 1 John 1:7-10 says:
1 John 1:7–10 NIV
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. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Pilate was not free from the blood of Christ. The Blood of Christ is a reason that it should always be Easter – it cleanses us from sin!

#2 – The Jews Don’t Take His Blood Seriously (They Should)

Earlier this year I read the 25th verse and it became large to me. This is what happens as we read the Bible. It said,
Matthew 27:25 NIV
All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
Of course, the crowds who were demanding the death of Jesus were not thinking that they were doing anything wrong. They were basically saying, “His death is not significant. We will not be morally responsible for His death.” They were 180 degrees wrong! His blood was eternally significant for them.
Let’s apply the rule of 1st occurrence to this statement. What the Jews shouted was first stated in Joshua chapter 2. Jewish spies have been sent into Jericho. When the king of Jericho realizes that someone is in their city, he sends out the guard to apprehend them. A harlot named Rahab conceals them and then provides a way of escape.
Joshua 2:17–21 NIV
Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.” “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.” So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
Fast forward to a couple facts: (1) Rahab is a direct ancestor of Jesus, (2) the scarlet cord is a prophetic link to the Blood of Jesus, and (3) the spies promise that the home where the scarlet cord is suspended will live. What a contrast to the scene we have in Jerusalem!
This verse has been used to justify horrific practices against the Jews for many years. This is not an anti-Semitic verse. One Bible scholar writes:
There is no trace of hatred against those who nailed Jesus to the cross. For it was not the Jews who crucified Jesus. If we listen to Matthew, we are all involved! It was the refusal of the human heart to respond to the King proclaiming the kingdom that led to Jesus’ death. In that refusal all sinful humanity is implicated.[3]
This is why we should avoid the mistake that the Jews made. They didn’t take the blood of Christ seriously, we should and must! There is power, power, wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb!

#3 - Ironically and Fortunately Jesus Blood Was Spilled to Be on Us All

The only basis on which a holy God could forgive sin was through His Son bearing the penalty for sin. God could not forgive sinners merely on the grounds of their repentance. Rather, forgiveness required that the penalty must be fully paid. God does not forgive sinners simply because He is love. Rather, sinners are forgiven because God’s love caused Him to give His only begotten Son as a ransom for sin. It is the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ that atoned for the sin and provided forgiveness. George Herbert Morrison expressed the concept beautifully:
“Let me say that the cross is not needed and included because of God’s unwillingness to pardon. Nowhere in the New Testament is the cross conceived as turning an unwilling God into a willing one, as a compulsion on a reluctant God. It is not the cause of love, it is its consequence; it is the spring of love, it is its outflow, and that is what is so often forgotten. We read in the New Testament of Christ being offered as a propitiation for our sins, and our thoughts go back to pagan faiths, where men tried to appease their angry gods; but the tremendous difference is that in all these faiths man had to provide the propitiation; in the Christian faith God provides it. He does not ask men for an atoning sacrifice; He gives the atoning sacrifice, and He gives it because He loves the world and willeth not that any man should perish … It is because He is so passionately eager to forgive that God sent His Son to die.”[4]

His blood is a redeeming blood –

Ephesians 1:7 NIV
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Acts 20:28 NIV
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

It is a justifying blood –

Romans 5:9 NIV
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

It is a peacemaking blood –

Colossians 1:20 NIV
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.

It is a sanctifying blood –

Hebrews 13:12 NIV
And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.


Eugene Peterson is a pastor and the editor of The Message translation of the Bible. I’ve been reading his book, The Pastor, and I was interested to find out that he grew up in remote town in Montana. His father was a butcher, so Eugene worked in both the butcher shop and the slaughterhouse. He told about a preacher taking over the church and preaching from Leviticus with the priests and the sacrifices. Eugene was initially interested but he quickly realized that the preacher didn’t know anything about the sights and sounds of animals killed and offered up. He writes,
“But after a couple Sundays of Leviticus I lost interest in what our pastor was up to. This man knew nothing about killing animals. And though we never butchered goats, the rich sensuality of Hebrew worship was reproduced daily in our workplace. It never occurred to me that the world of worship was tidy and sedate. Our pastor had it all figured out on paper, but I knew it wasn’t like that at all. I couldn’t help but wonder how much he knew about sin and forgiveness. He certainly knew nothing about animal sacrifices. Sacrifice was messy: blood sloshing on the floor, gutting the creatures and gathering up the entrails in buckets, skinning the animals, salting down the hides. And in the summertime, the flies—flies everywhere.”[5]
I wonder if we haven’t softened and cleaned up the death of Christ and the work of the Cross. It was messy – but powerful. We would have wanted to close our eyes – but He went to the Cross with His eyes wide open.
If we are going to live a life that always celebrates Easter, we ought to understand the importance of the Blood of Christ. We can’t make the mistake of Pilate and think that we can be free from it, and we can’t be like the Jews who didn’t take it seriously. It is immensely important!
[1] Tozer, A.W. quoted in Accessed March 22, 2021
[2] Excerpt From: Erwin Raphael McManus. “The Barbarian Way.” Apple Books.
[3] Green, M. (2001). The message of Matthew: the kingdom of heaven (p. 293). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[4] Duffield, G. P., & Van Cleave, N. M. (2016). Foundations of Pentecostal Theology (Revised & Updated, Vol. 1, pp. 174–175). Los Angeles, CA: Foursquare Media.
[5] Excerpt From: Eugene H. Peterson. “The Pastor.” Apple Books.
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