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Blood That Cleanses!

March 2, 2017


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Ash Wednesday                                                   Trinity Lutheran Church

1 March 2017                                                        Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +

Hebrews 9:6-14


Blood. That’s the theme this Lent. Does that make you nervous? Squeamish? Sure it does. You’re afraid of blood. If somebody starts bleeding, you’re afraid you’ll get a pathogen, an infectious disease. Blood! Put on the mask! Put on the gloves!


So, when the Bible, the liturgy and the hymns speak so much about blood, many of your friends are repulsed. Sickened. Disgusted. They see you Lutherans as a bunch of primitive backwoods hicks. In addition, the big wigs and high brows of our society mock the blood theology of the Bible as a primitive relic of the unsophisticated and crude ancient world.


However, I’m here to tell you categorically that there is no life, either physically or spiritually without blood. Did you hear that? No blood – no life. No blood – no salvation. Why? Because blood cleanses! It purifies!


A number of years ago Dr. Paul Brand wrote some articles in Christianity Today about blood cleansing and purifying the body.[1] In those essays Dr. Brand explained the way blood cells work. No cell lies more than a hair’s breadth from a blood capillary so that poisonous by-products don’t build up. Through a basic chemical process of gas diffusion and transfer, individual blood cells travel slowly inside narrow capillaries and they release their cargoes of fresh oxygen AND ABSORB WASTE PRODUCTS (carbon dioxide, urea and uric acid). The red blood cells deliver the potentially hazardous chemicals to organs that then expel the toxic wastes outside the body. Blood cleanses. Blood purifies.


And that is precisely what you need. Especially if you are to stand before the Lord. Your sin pollutes you before God. Your sin poisons you so that you are unfit to live or enjoy God’s presence. What is more – you can’t clean yourself up – EVER! There is only one cleansing agent that purifies, cleanses or saves you. What is it? Blood! The DIVINE BLOOD OF JESUS! His blood purifies you. His blood enables you to enter into God’s most holy presence and enjoy His fellowship.


In addition, as the text says, Christ’s blood gives you a clean conscience. His blood takes all the sin the poisons of your life, just as human blood cells clear away toxins that would poison your body. Christ’s Good Friday blood cleanses you from the sins that you have committed against others AND even from the sins that others have committed against you.


So, tonight you are gathered before the Lord Jesus because you need cleansing. To hold on to your sin is to remain polluted by it. And the pollution of sin is lethal. Deadly. This is true for the sins you have committed and the sins that have been done against you that you refuse to forgive. Without the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus, victims of sin will victimize others. There is only one remedy for sin – yours and others. It is the blood of Jesus! Only His divine blood wipes away the toxic stains from your conscience and gives you peace.


When the text tonight speaks of the Old Testament’s high priest going into the Holy of Holies with the blood of animal sacrifices to offer for his sins and the sins of Israel – for the purifying of the flesh – this was a foreshadowing or a pointer to the cleansing that Jesus’ blood would provide.


The Old Testament blood, the high priest and the tabernacle all pointed to Jesus. However, Jesus came as High Priest of the good things to come. In other words, He fulfills it. He is the greater and perfect tabernacle not made with hands. With His divine blood, not the blood of goats and calves, Jesus entered the Most Holy Place once for all having obtained eternal redemption. Jesus is THE High Priest who offered His own body and blood on the cross for your salvation. Only His blood cleanses you from all your sin. The sacrifice that He made on Good Friday was done once for all. It never needs to be repeated. In fact, it cannot be repeated!


Tonight, you are here then to receive the benefits of Christ’s High Priestly Good Friday sacrifice. He gives you His crucified and risen body and blood. In His body and blood Jesus carried all your sin to the Good Friday cross. Now, He gives you His body and blood to eat and drink. His blood that you drink with the wine is His divine blood that cleanses you from all sin. Jesus, who died FOR YOU, now reigns in your conscience. You are forgiven. It’s true. He shed His blood FOR YOU. You are clean and pure in Him.

In the Name of Jesus.

     [1]”Blood, The Miracle of Cleansing,” Part 1, Christianity Today (18 February 1983), 13.

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