Dreams that Shape the City / Day 26

BIBLE READING

Ephesians 2: 13; 17-18

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ...

....His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Colossians 1: 19-22

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation....

REFLECTION

One of the great dangers in the church has always been that, in attempting to be 'seeker friendly' and making our faith attractive to the outside world, we sanitise and domesticate some of the more seemingly 'primitive' elements of Christianity.  One area where this has happened is with regards to the 'blood' of Jesus.  The theory is that modern, 21st century people don't want to hear about blood, sacrifice and sin.  It's offensive to their sensibilities so we offer softer and more socially acceptable concepts in communicating our faith.  

While I wholeheartedly believe we should never put obstacles in the way of people coming to faith in Jesus and Christian jargon is deeply unhelpful, we should also never shy away from foundational Biblical teaching around our deepest problems (sin causing alienation from God and one another) and the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus in dealing with that need.  This includes teaching about the accomplishment of the death of Jesus on the cross and the power of the blood of Jesus which was poured out for us.

In Paul's day there was just as much pressure as we face today to make the message more palatable and acceptable.  He even said: "....we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles..." (1 Cor 1: 23)  He knew that to water down the Gospel message was to render it powerless.

In both our Bible readings today, Paul explicitly talks about the power of the blood of Jesus to reconcile us to God and each other.

"....you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Eph 2: 13)

"....through him [Jesus] to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Col 1: 20)

Blood, so often a symbol of injury, pain, war and violence, has become for us a source of reconciliation, unity, acceptance and peace. How? Because it was no ordinary blood - it was the blood of God's perfect Son, paying for our sin, healing our wounds, restoring our lives, rescuing our souls, washing our guilt, making us whole, bringing us together as one.  

Other passages in the New Testament teach us how to live together as the family of believers. This tells us how and why we, so diverse and different, can even be family in the first place. Because of, and nothing else, but the blood of Jesus.