Hebrews 9:22 (NIV84)
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
What are some things you enjoy about being in church on a Sunday morning? Sermons that touch your heart and teach you God’s truths? Music that lifts you up and leaves you inspired? Bible studies where you grow in knowledge and understanding? The water, wafer, and wine, through which the Spirit works? The encouragement and fellowship of a Christian church community? And all that blood. Wait…what? Blood?!
We would be more than a little shocked to have the sight and stench of blood welcoming us to church some Sunday. For Old Testament believers, though, blood was an essential part of worship. As animals were slaughtered in sacrifice each day, there was no escaping the blood – flowing from the animal’s side, sprinkled on the altar, or dripping from the hands of the priest. By including sacrifice for sin as a part of worship, God reminded his people over and over again “The life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11). Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
Yet it wasn’t the blood of those animals that forgave sins “because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Those thousands of bloody sacrifices were but a shadow of the one bloody sacrifice on the altar of Calvary’s cross. The blood of Jesus – flowing from his side, dripping from his head and hands and feet – purifies us from all sin. This once-for-all sacrifice for sins is an act of amazing love that only God could initiate and only Christ could accomplish. Sin’s burden has been lifted forever.
Now freely forgiven, once and for all by the blood of Jesus, we dedicate our lives to him in praise and worship. Part of that worship includes being in church on Sunday morning. Hearing sermons that touch your heart and teach you God’s truths. Listening to music that lifts you up and leaves you inspired. Growing in knowledge and understanding as you study the Bible. Experiencing the blessing of fellowship with a Christian church community. Witnessing the work of the Spirit through wafer and wine, body and blood. And in it all, looking to the cross where all that blood was shed to forgive your sins.
PRAYER: Dearest Lord, forgive me for my sins which put your Son on the cross. Thank you for his perfect sacrifice of blood by which all my sins were forgiven forever. Let me never stop looking to the blood of Jesus in my life of worship. Amen.