Power of the Blood of Jesus – Volume 11
Message Summary by AFT Team
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. – John 10:10.
We have been studying about the power of the blood of Jesus and discovering that we need to know what the Bible teaches about that power in order to walk in victory. Jesus says that He came to give us life, and to have it in abundance. So let’s learn about what ‘abundant life’ means. Through His blood, shed on the cross, Jesus made it possible for all of humanity to share in this abundant life. He took away our sins, which only leads to death.
What we deserve VS What we receive
Justice VS Mercy
We might ask for justice here on earth in our daily transactions, but standing before God’s throne, we need mercy. What is the difference between justice and mercy? Justice is the quality of being fair or getting what one deserves. Mercy is compassionate treatment, a blessing of divine favour. While our sins put us in a position where we deserve death (justice), we receive life abundantly (mercy) as children of God. Our sins are not remembered and God does not keep a record of our transgressions. Aren’t you glad God chose to give us mercy instead of calling us to account for every sin we have committed? He is a merciful God who sent His son to redeem us and bring abundant life. What did we do to deserve a gift such as this? Nothing. We did nothing to deserve such a gift and neither can we ever repay this debt that was paid on the cross. We were all sinners and death was the judgment, but we receive the grace of God – the abundant life through faith. This unexpected gift is something that we did not earn. It is something that we don’t deserve. If we received what we deserved, we would be dead. Instead of giving us what we deserve, God grants us mercy, He gives us life.
THE MEANING OF ‘NEPHESH’ LIFE
In order to understand ‘abundant life’, we have to first understand what ‘life’ means. The Hebrew root word for life is ‘nephesh’, which can be translated as a soul, life or person.
In Genesis 2:7 we read that God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. After God made the heavens and the earth, he made man. God created man from the dust of the earth. With God’s breath, man became a living soul. When God breathed life into us, we became living souls. The blood that flows through our veins gives us life. ‘Nephesh’ is the word used here to denote ‘breath of life’. Adam became nephesh – a person, a living soul.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. – Leviticus 17:11. Here too the words ‘life’ and ‘soul’ are from the word ‘nephesh’. We learn from this verse that the blood has life or soul contained in it. God ordained that this life/soul must be the sacrificial blood poured out on the altar and makes atonement for our life. However, the sacrifices as mentioned in the Old Testament were only a temporary atonement for sin. When the old law was put away, animal sacrifices were no longer the atonement for sin. Jesus sacrificed His own life, His nephesh as atonement for our sins.
He poured out His soul unto death – Isaiah 53:12. The word ‘nephesh’ is used here to mean ‘soul’. Jesus literally poured out His soul unto death. We saw that life is in the blood and that life also means ‘soul’. The Bible’s account of the crucifixion reminds us that Jesus gave it all for us. They beat Him with whips with attached metal hooks that tore the flesh off His body. His body appeared like a ploughed field. Blood poured out of Him. They put a crown of thorns on His head, and pressed it and beat Him on it, so blood was flowing from the head as well. The soldiers finally came and pierced His side, and blood and water flowed from there also. He was completely spent. He poured out His blood, His soul, His life, His nephesh. As the figurative sacrificial lamb, Jesus bore the sins of all of us and poured out his soul unto death.
HOW CAN ONE MAN’S LIFE ATONE FOR THE SINS OF ALL MANKIND?
We see that Jesus poured out His soul for us. But is that enough for all of humanity? Exodus 21:23-25 says But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. According to the “life for life” principle, a debt was considered paid with an equal exchange. That was justice – an even exchange for the damage. How can the soul of just one man become atonement for all of mankind’s sins?
The life that was poured out at the cross of Calvary is no ordinary life. It is the life of God Himself, the creator of heaven and earth. In the beginning was the word, the word was God, and the word became flesh. God became flesh. So the life of Jesus was no mere human life, it was God’s life. The blood that flowed in His veins was God’s own blood, not the blood of His parents. (We’ve already learnt about the value of the blood of Jesus here). It was the life and blood of God, which is infinitely more valuable than all of creation.
We’ve learned that in the Old Testament, animal sacrifices atoned for man’s sins and reconciled us to God. According to the Law of Moses, sins were atoned through shedding an animal’s life blood. When a sacrificial animal was killed, the blood was poured on the altar thus cancelling the sin. We read in I Kings 8 that Solomon sacrificed 120,000 sheep and 20,000 oxen. At the first Passover in Egypt, the blood of about 1,25,000 to 2,50,000 lambs was shed. Sacrifices at the temple went on all day, from morning to evening. There were so many sacrificial animals; they could not be counted and their blood ran like a river. And yet, all that blood was not enough to pay for our sins.
The blood of Jesus, however, being infinitely more valuable than the blood of all these sacrificial animals, is the just atonement for the sins of mankind. That is why John the Baptist said of Jesus “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” All the millions of lambs could not atone for sin, but with Jesus there was just one sacrifice needed to cancel them. He was ‘the Lamb of God’. And His blood offered just atonement for the sins of all mankind.
The Old Testament had constant reminders of sin; sacrifices were offered throughout the day. Many animals were sacrificed. But when the old law was put away, animal sacrifices were no longer the atonement for sin. Under the New Covenant, thanks to the perfect sacrifice, the blood and the life of Jesus, God says that He has forgotten our sins. He does not remember our sins. It took the blood of just one man, only one sacrifice to take away the sins of the world—the Lamb of God—and that was enough. His was the only blood, the only life that was capable of atoning for the sins of all humanity. It was more than enough and we can never pay what we owe! This is mercy!
Is the blood of Jesus enough for all of my sins?
Is the blood of Jesus enough for the sins of all mankind?
O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption. – Psalm 103:7
With God, there is mercy and abundant redemption in the blood of Jesus. What does ‘abundant redemption’ mean? It means that when God paid the price through the blood of Jesus, He not only paid what was due, but He overpaid.
No matter how much we may have sinned, He cleanses us. Not only has He cleansed us of our past sins, He is continually cleansing us, because there is no shortage of redemption. He has overpaid. There is more than enough redemption. And not just for one person, it is sufficient for all mankind. This one’s person’s life and blood is adequate payment for the sins of all men. The price He paid is more than enough to last through the ages; there’s enough redemption in the blood of Jesus to redeem the whole human race.
Charles Wesley captured the spirit of that blessed sacrifice in the beloved hymn “Arise, My Soul Arise.” One of the lines goes like this: The Spirit answers to the blood, and tells me I am born of God. This is a powerful statement. Let’s try to understand what it means. Hebrews 12:22-24 provides a picture of heavenly Jerusalem (link) and says that the shed blood that Jesus speaks a stronger word than the blood of Abel. The blood that Jesus shed is not calling for vengeance, but for mercy! Remember, Satan wants us to feel eternally guilty and to stay away from the face of God, but the blood says something – we are born of God and we have been redeemed. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:14-16. The spirit of God is within us and answers to the blood of Jesus and bears witness that we are the children of God.
HOW TO APPROPRIATE ABUNDANT LIFE
As Jesus talked to the crowds about appropriating the abundant life, he talked about eating His flesh and drinking His blood.
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. – John 6:53-56
Of course there was astonishment. What was He saying? Was He talking about literally eating human flesh and drinking human blood? No! He was talking about appropriating abundant life. Jesus was saying that if they did not believe in His sacrifice at the cross, if they did not believe that His body was broken for them and His blood was shed for them, if they did not accept Him as their saviour, as the atonement for their sins, then they had no life in them. They were alive in the biological sense of the word, but they would not have abundant life. Only by believing and receiving what the blood of Jesus has done, can we have the abundant life God promised.
Just like water is used for both cleansing purposes and drinking, the blood of Jesus also both cleanses and quenches. We have to drink of it to appropriate its benefits. We have to drink of it to receive abundant life. What is drinking? When we listen to a good speaker, we say, “I’m drinking it in”. It means we are taking it in. Drinking the blood of Jesus means that we are taking it in, appreciating it, grasping, understanding and receiving what it means, and believing that it indeed gives abundant life.
When we have communion, we testify to our Christian belief in Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice. We are symbolically partaking of the life that flowed through His body – drinking it all in and gaining the strength that comes from the cross, knowing what Jesus has done. Fill your hearts with praise for what Christ did on the cross for you. The abundant life that Jesus gives nourishes us. That is where we find the spiritual strength to fight the devil.