Wednesday, February 11

Divine Blood, A Parenthesis...

Before looking into the two proof texts used as evidence that Christ's blood was divine, it might be useful to consider what is meant in scripture when the blood is mentioned. Does it always simply refer to blood as a material or physical thing, or does mention of the blood often bring with it other concepts? Is the word blood sometimes used to represent other related concepts?

When scripture uses the word blood, it oftem seems to carry with it the idea of the life sustaining properties of blood or, more specifically, the life given up in death when the blood is shed. "The life is in the blood" is not only speaking of the life of the creature, but also is pointing to the life being taken in death. When Paul says in Acts 22 that the blood of Stephen was shed, he is not refering to Stephen physically bleeding, for stoning someone to death does not necessarily cause a lot of bleeding, but to the way Stephen died--His life was taken from him in a violent way.

Notice, too, the parallels between Christ shedding His blood and giving His life. We are told that Christ "gave His life as a ransom" and also that He "purchased [men] with His blood", both refering to believers being bought, either by Christ's death (the giving of His life), or by His blood. The two phrases seem to be used equivalently.

In addition, against the backdrop of the Old Testament sacrificial system, the term blood sometimes brings with it the thought of sacrifice. The New Testament believers, familiar as they were with sacrifices of the priests, would have seen the references to Christ's blood as cleansing in the context of the cleansing of the old covenant animal sacrifices. The blood of the old sacrifices cleaned in some sort of outward way, while the blood of Christ cleans, too, but in a complete way that the old sacrifices only hinted at. The blood of bulls and goats were not able to take away sins, but "we have been made holy through the sacrifice the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10).

I have taken this little detour here in order to lay a bit of a foundation for the examination of the two texts used as proof for Christ having blood that was divine. In our next installment let's look at those two proof texts.