Sunday, March 23rd is “Gather at the River,” which is a time of taking the church outdoors. This time our theme is, “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.”
I’m blown away at how some people are offended by the all the “blood” songs in the hymnal. Before our current United Methodist Hymnal came out there was a move by a small, but vocal group to purge the hymnal of all the familiar “blood songs.” I am so thankful they did not succeed. Where would we be without the blood of Christ? Thank God for the hymn, “Nothing but the Blood,” and its powerful lyrics:
“What can wash away my sins? NOTHING but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? NOTHING but the blood of Jesus. O precious is the flow that makes me bright as snow; no other fount I know; NOTHING but the blood of Jesus.
Let me be absolutely clear: There is no gospel without the blood of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament teaches that the life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11) and THAT’S why the Blood of Christ is significant! The OT sacrificial system was a bloody mess. At the time of Jesus it has been estimated that there may have been up to 250,000 lambs sacrificed over the Passover. It was a graphic visual reminder that a sacrifice was required to deal with our sins. Yet, Hebrews 10:4 says that the blood of lambs and goats can’t take away our sin… they can only cover them up. The whole OT sacrificial system was designed to prepare us for the ultimate blood sacrifice of the ultimate Lamb of God –Jesus! The blood of Jesus does more than simply cover up our sin… it removes them!
There are at least 43 references to the blood of Christ in the New Testament, all testifying to its great importance in the salvation and daily life of the believer. Judas the betrayer spoke of it as “innocent blood (Matthew 27:4) and Peter called it “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter l:9). It is the cleansing blood in I John l:7 and the washing blood in Rev. l:5, stressing that it removes the guilt of our sins. Jesus, Himself said of His own blood, “This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission (removal) of sins” (Matthew 26:28)
So this “Gather at the River,” let’s not be reluctant to sing about the blood of Jesus Christ. Let it be a time of humbling yourself before the Lord, but also a time of celebrating the victory of Christ over our sin.
This Gather at the River we are also sponsoring a Blood Drive with the South Texas Blood Bank. I encourage you to participate if you’re able and as you watch the blood drip from your arm, , remember the One who gave it all!