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by Wayne Blank
Jesus Christ knew that He was the Messiah, the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29, see also John The Baptist). And yet, knowing what awaited Him in a few hours, since He was as human as anyone else, before or since (Hebrews 2:17, 4:15), He asked The Father to relieve Him of the need to actually go through with it. Ironically, He prayed so hard that "His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44 KJV). He asked three times, in deep and sorrowful prayer, but God's answer was that it must be carried through. Why? Why did Jesus have to actually shed His blood as a sacrifice for humanity?
Life, Blood and Justice
Right from the earliest times, as God decreed (God doesn't care what any differing human definition may be), blood was equated with life:
"For the life of every creature is the blood of it" (Leviticus 17:14 RSV)
The Penalty of Sin Is Death
When humans became sinners, they became subject to the penalty of sin, which is death:
"Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever, therefore The Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden" (Genesis 3:22-23 RSV)
Jesus Christ Paid The Death Penalty For Us, By His Shed Blood
"with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake" (1 Peter 1:19-20 RSV)
Old Testament Sacrifices Were Symbolic Of The Messiah
"But when Christ appeared as a High Priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, He entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God."
Fact Finder: At Christ's Return, will He be wearing a "robe dipped in blood"?
This Week's Bible Quiz
Which Book of the Bible follows:
8. 2 John?
For the answers to this September 11 2001 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page