Christ before Pilate
Many of us cringe not only at the sight of blood– especially someone else’s, but also don’t give much thought to ‘issues’ of blood. In the case of the shed blood of Christ, it is beyond critical– it is absolutely essential to our understanding of redemption, and appropriating the abundant life which all blood-bought children of God have been promised.
To this end this post quotes portions of the classic The Power of the Blood of Jesus by Andrew Murray (1828-1917). The eloquence and comprehensive nature of his treatise on this subject is only touched upon in this essay. For the complete 10 chapter text in magazine format, please contact Herald of His Coming. It is available free (modest donation is wise); ask for their complete catalog of resources: Classic Books for Today, their monthly periodical of the same Herald name, and the evangelism tools in English and Spanish. This is a faith ministry worthy of support for their 70 year contribution to the spiritual growth of the greater Body of Christ over generations. I quote:
What The Scriptures Teach About The Blood
Hebrews 9:7, 18… Not without blood…
It is my object to show what the Scriptures teach us concerning the glorious power of the blood of Jesus, and the wonderful blessings procured for us by it; and I cannot lay a better foundation for my exposition, nor give a better proof of the superlative glory of that blood as the power of redemption, than by asking you to follow me through the Bible, and thus see the unique place which is given to the blood from the beginning to the end of God’s revelation of Himself to man, as recorded in the Bible.
It will become clear that there is no single scriptural idea, from Genesis to Revelation, more constantly and more prominently kept in view, than that expressed by the words the blood.
Christ in the Garden by Warner Sallman
Let us learn what the Old Testament teaches
Its record about the blood begins at the gates of Eden… in connection with the sacrifice of Abel all is plain… there in connection with the first act of worship recorded in the Bible, blood was shed. We learn from Hebrews 11:4 that it was by faith Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, and his name stands first in the record of those whom the Bible calls believers. He has this witness borne to him that he pleased God. His faith and God’s good pleasure in him, are closely connected with the sacrificial blood.
In the light of later revelation, this testimony, given at the very beginning of human history, is of deep significance. It shows that there can be no approach to God; no fellowship with Him by faith; no enjoyment of His favour, apart from the blood. Scripture gives but short notice of the following sixteen centuries. Then came the flood, which was God’s judgment on sin, by the destruction of the world of mankind.
But God brought forth a new earth from that awful baptism of water[s of death]. Notice, however, that the new earth must be baptized also with blood, and the first recorded act of Noah, after he had left the ark, was the offering of a burnt sacrifice to God. As with Abel, so with Noah at the new beginning, it was not without blood.
Sin once again prevailed, and God laid an entirely new foundation for the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. By the divine call of Abraham, and the miraculous birth of Isaac, God undertook the formation of a people to serve Him. But this purpose was not accomplished apart from the shedding of the blood. This is apparent in the most solemn hour of Abraham’s life.
God has already entered into covenant relationship with Abraham, and his faith had already been severely tried, and had stood the test. It was reckoned, or counted to him for righteousness. Yet he must learn that Isaac, the son of promise, who belonged wholly to God, can be truly surrendered to God only by death. Isaac must die. For Abraham, as well as Isaac, only by death could freedom from the self-life be obtained. Abraham must offer Isaac on the altar.
That was not an arbitrary command of God. It was the revelation of a divine truth, that it is only through death, that a life truly consecrated to God is possible. But it was impossible for Isaac to die and rise again from the dead; for on account of sin, death would hold him fast. But see- his life was spared, and a ram was offered in his place. Through the blood that then flowed on Mount Moriah his life was spared. He and the people which sprang from him, live before God not without blood. By that blood, however, he was in a figure raised again from the dead. The great lesson of substitution is here clearly taught.
Four hundred years pass, and Isaac has become in Egypt, the people of Israel. Through her deliverance from Egyptian bondage Israel was to be recognized as God’s first-born among the nations. Here also, it is not without blood. Neither the electing grace of God, nor His covenant with Abraham, nor the exercise of his omnipotence, which could so easily have destroyed their oppressors, could dispense with the necessity of the blood.
… By the sprinkling of the door frames of the Israelites with the blood of the Paschal Lamb; by the institution of the Passover as an enduring ordinance with the words: When I see the blood I will pass over you”, the people were taught that life can only be obtained by the death of a substitute. Life was possible for them only through the blood of a life given in their place, and appropriated by the “sprinkling of that blood.”
… It was in that blood the covenant had its foundation and power. It is by the blood alone, that God and man can be brought into covenant fellowship. That which had been fore-shadowed a the Gate of Eden, on Mount Ararat, on Moriah, and in Egypt was now confirmed at the foot of Sinai, in a most solemn manner. Without blood there could be no access by sinful man to a Holy God…
…Immediately after the establishment of the covenant the command was given, Let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them (Exodus 25:8). They were to enjoy the full blessedness of having the God of the covenant abiding among them. Through His grace they may find Him, and serve Him in His house. He Himself gave, with the minutest case, directions for th arrangement and service of that house. But notice that the blood is the centre and reason of all this.
Draw near to the vestibule of the earthly temple of the Heavenly King, and the first thing visible is the altar of burnt offering, where the sprinkling of blood continues with out ceasing, from morning until evening. Enter the Holy Place, and the most conspicuous thing is the golden altar of incense, which also, together with the veil, is constantly sprinkled with the blood. Ask what lies beyond the Holy Place, and you will be told that it is the Most Holy Place [Holy of Holies; Holiest of All] where god dwells. If you ask how He dwells there, and how He is approached, you will be told not without blood. The golden throne where His [Shekinah] glory shines, is itself sprinkled with the blood, once every year, when the High Priest alone enters to bring in the blood, and to worship God. The highest act in that worship is the sprinkling of the blood.
If you inquire further, you will be told that always, and for everything, the blood is the one thing needful. At the consecration of the house, or of the priests, at the birth of a child, in the deepest penitence on account of sin, in the highest festival, always and in everything, the way to fellowship with God is through the blood alone. This continued for fifteen hundred years. At Sinai, in the desert, at Shiloh, in the temple on Mount Moriah it continued till our Lord came to make an end of all shadows by bringing in the substance, and by establishing a fellowship with the Holy One, in spirit and truth.
What our Lord Jesus Himself teaches about the blood
With His coming old things are passed away, all things became new. He came from the Father in Heaven, and can tell us in divine words the way to the Father. It is sometimes said that the words not without blood belong to the Old Testament. But what does our Lord Jesus Christ say? Notice first, that when John the Baptist announced His coming, he spoke of Him as filling a dual office, as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world; and then as the One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. The outpouring of the blood of the Lamb of God must take place before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit could be bestowed. Only when all that the Old Testament taught about the blood had been fulfilled, can the dispensation of the Spirit begin.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself plainly declared that His death on the cross was the purpose for which He came into the world; that it was the necessary condition of redemption and life which He came to bring. He clearly states that in connection with His death the shedding of His blood was necessary. In the synagogue at Capernaum He spoke of Himself as the Bread of Life; of His flesh, that He would give it for the life of the world. Four times over He said most emphatically, Except ye… drink My blood, ye have no life in you. He that drinketh My blood hath everlasting Life. My blood is drink indeed. He that drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me and I in him (John 6). Our Lord thus declared the fundamental fact that He Himself, as the Son of the Father, who came to restore to us our lost life, can do this in no other way than by dying for us; by shedding His blood for us, and then making us partakers of its power.
Our Lord confirmed the teaching of the Old Testament offerings– that man can live only through the death of another, and thus obtain a life that through resurrection has become eternal. But Christ Himself cannot make us partakers of that eternal life which He has procured for us, save by the shedding of His blood, and causing us to drink it. Marvellous fact! Not without blood can eternal life be ours. Equally striking is our Lord’s declaration of the same truth on the last night of His earthly life. Before He completed the great work of His life by giving it “as a ransom for many”, He instituted the Holy Supper saying: “This cup is the New Testament in My blood that is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins. Drink ye all of it” (Matthew 26:28). “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” Without remission of sins there is no life. But by shedding of His blood He has obtained a new life for us. By what He calls the drinking of His blood He shares His life with us. The blood shed in the atonement, which frees us from the guilt of sin: and from death, the punishment of sin; the blood, which by faith we drink, bestows on us His life. The blood He shed was, in the first place, for us, and is then given to us.
The Teaching of the Apostles under the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit
After the resurrection and ascension, our Lord is not any longer known by the apostles “after the flesh”. Now, all that was symbolical has passed away, and the deep spiritual truths expressed by symbol are unveiled. But there is no veiling of the blood. It still occupies a prominent place.
Turn first to the Epistle to the Hebrews, which was written purposely to show that the temple service had become unprofitable, and was intended by God to pass away, now that Christ had come. Here if anywhere, it might be expected that the Holy Spirit would emphasize the true spirituality of God’s purpose, yet it is just here that the blood of Jesus is spoken of in a manner that imparts a new value to the phrase. We read concerning our Lord that: “… by His own blood He entered in the Holy Place” (Hebrews 9:12). “The Blood of Christ– shall purge your conscience” (verse 14). “Having therefore brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19).
“Ye are come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant and to the blood of sprinkling” (12:24). “Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood suffered without the gate” (13:12, 13). “God– brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus– through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (13:20). By such words the Holy Spirit teaches us that the blood is really the central power of our entire redemption. Not without blood is as valid in the New Testament as in the Old. Nothing but the blood of Jesus, shed in His death for sin, can cover sin on God’s side, or remove it on ours.
We find the same teaching in the writings of the Apostles. Paul writes of “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus… through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:24, 25), of “…being now justified by His blood” (verse 9). To the Corinthians he declares that the “…cup of blessing which we bless is the communion of the blood of Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:16). In the Epistle to the Galatians he uses the word cross to convey the same meaning, while in Colossians he unties the two words and speaks of the blood of the cross (Gal. 6:14; Col. 1:20). He reminds the Ephesians that “We have redemption through His blood” and that we “…are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 1:7; 2:13).
Peter reminds his readers that they were “Elect… unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus” (1 Peter 1:2), that they were redeemed by “the precious blood of Christ” (verse 19). See how John assures his “little children” that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). The Son is He “…who came not by water only but by water and blood” (verse 6). All of them agree together in mentioning the blood, and in glorying in it, as the power by which eternal redemption through Christ is fully accomplished and is then applied by the Holy Spirit.
… In the glory of Heaven as seen by John, there was no phrase by which the great purposes of God; the wondrous love of the Son of God; the power of His redemption; and the joy and thanksgiving of the redeemed; can be gathered up and expressed save this–“the blood of the Lamb.” From the beginning to the end of Scripture; from the closing of the gates of Eden, to the opening of the gates of the Heavenly Zion, there runs through Scripture a golden thread. It is the blood that unites the beginning and the end; that gloriously restores what sin had destroyed.
It is not difficult to see what lessons the Lord wishes us to learn from the fact that the blood occupies such a prominent place in Scripture:
1. God has no other way of dealing with sin, or the sinner, save through the blood.
For victory over sin and the deliverance of the sinner God has no other means or thought than the blood of Christ. Yes, it is indeed something that surpasses understanding. All the wonders of grace are focused here– the incarnation, by which He took upon Himself our flesh and blood; the love, that spared not itself but surrendered itself to death; the righteousness, which could not forgive sin till the penalty was borne; the substitution, by which He the Righteous One, atoned for us the unrighteous; the atonement for sin, and the justification of the sinner, thus made possible; renewed fellowship with God; together with the cleansing and sanctification, to fit us for enjoyment of that fellowship; the true oneness in life with the Lord Jesus, as He gives us His blood to drink; the eternal joy of the hymn of praise, “Thou hast redeemed us to God”; all these are but rays of the wondrous light which are reflected upon us from the precious blood of Jesus.
2. The blood must have the same place in our hearts which it has with God.
From the beginning of God’s dealings with man, yes, from before the foundation of the world, the heart of God has rejoiced in that blood. Our heart will never rest, nor find salvation, till we too learn to walk and glory in the power of that blood. It is not only the penitent sinner, longing for pardon, who must thus value it. No!– the redeemed will experience that just as God in His temple sits upon a throne of grace,where the blood is ever in evidence, so there is nothing that draws our hearts nearer to God, filling them with God’s love, and joy, and glory, as living in constant, spiritual view of that blood.
3. Let us take time and trouble to learn the full blessing and power of that blood.
The blood of Jesus is the greatest mystery of eternity, the deepest mystery of the divine wisdom. Let us not imagine that we can easily grasp its meaning. God thought 4,000 years necessary to prepare man for it, and we also must take time, if we are to gain a knowledge of the power of the blood.
…The hiddn value of His blood is the spirit of self-sacrifice, and where the blood really touches the heart, it works out in that heart, a like spirit of self-sacrifice. We learn to give up ourselves and our lives, so as to press into the full power of that new life, which the blood has provided. We give our time in order that we may become acquainted with these things by God’s Word. We separate our selves from sin and worldly mindedness, and self-will, that the power of the blood may not be hindered, for it is just these things that the blood seeks to remove.
We surrender ourselves wholly to God in prayer and faith, so as not to think our own thoughts, and not to hold our own lives as a prize, but as possessing nothing save what He bestows. Then He reveals to us the glorious and blessed life which has been prepared for us by the blood.
4. We can rely upon the Lord Jesus to reveal to us the power of His blood.
Trust Him to open your eyes, and to give you a deeper spiritual insight. Trust Him to teach you to think about the blood as God thinks about it. Trust Him to impart to you, and to make effective in you, all that He enables you to see. Trust Him above all, in the power of His eternal High Priesthood, to work out in you, unceasingly, the full merits of His blood, so that your whole life may be an uninterrupted abiding in the sanctuary of God’s Presence.
Believer, you who have come to the knowledge of the precious blood, hearken to the invitation of your Lord. Come nearer. Let Him teach you; let Him bless you. Let Him cause His blood to become to you spirit, and life, and power, and truth. Begin now, at once, to open your souls in faith, to receive the full, mighty, heavenly effects of the precious blood, in a more glorious manner than you have ever experienced. He Himself will work these things out in your life.
1 Peter 1:18, 19… “Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…. but with the precious blood of Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot”.
…It is because of the wonderful Person whose blood was shed; and because of the wonderful way in which it was shed, fulfilling the law of God, while satisfying its just demands, that the blood of Jesus has such wonderful power. It is the blood of atonement, and hence has such efficacy to redeem; accomplishing everything for, and in the sinner, that is necessary to salvation…
…It is only through the blood that God exerts His almightiness in dealing with sinful men. Where the blood is, there the resurrection power of God gives entrance to eternal life. The blood has made a complete end of all the power of death, and hell; its effects surpass all human thought…
..Oh, the wonderful power of the blood of Christ. Just as it has broken open the gates of the grave, and of hell, to let Jesus out, and us with Him; so it has opened the gates of Heaven for Him, and us with Him to enter. The blood has an almighty power over the kingdom of darkness, and hell beneath; and over the Kingdom of Heaven, and its glory above…
…The precious blood of Christ has opened the way for the believer into God’s Presence; intercourse with Him is a deep, spiritual reality. He who knows the full power of the blood is brought so nigh that he can always live in the immediate presence of God, and in the enjoyment of the unspeakable blessings attached to it. There, the child of God has assurance of God’s love; he experiences and enjoys it. God Himself imparts it. He lives daily in the friendship and fellowship of God. As God’s child he makes known to the Father, with perfect freedom, his thoughts and wishes. In this intercourse with God he possesses all that he needs; he lacks no good thing. His soul is kept in perfect rest and peace, because God is with him. He receives all requisite direction and teaching. God’s eye is ever upon him or her, guiding. Intercourse with God, he is able to hear the softest whispers of the Holy Spirit. He learns to understand the slightest sign of his Father’s will, and to follow it. His strength continually increases, for God is his strength, and God is ever with him…
… As the blood of reconciliation it works out in the soul the full, living consciousness which belongs to those who are at home in Heaven. It brings us really into the Holiest, near to God. It makes us fit for Heaven.
As the cleansing blood it delivers from the lust and power of sin, and preserves us in the fellowship of the light and life of the Holy God. The blood inspires the song of praise in Heaven. As the blood” of the Lamb “…Who loved us and gave Himself for us” it speaks not only of what He has done for us, but chiefly of Him who has done all. In the blood, we have the most perfect impartation of Himself. He who by faith gives himself up to experience, to the full, what the blood is able to do, will soon find an entrance into a life of happy singing of praise, and love, that Heaven itself alone can surpass.
My comrades in redemption! This life is for you and me. May the blood be all our glory, not only at the cross with its awful wonders, but also at the Throne. Let us plunge deep, and ever deeper, into the living fountain of the blood of the Lamb. Let us open our hearts wide, and ever wider, for its operation. Let us firmly, and ever more firmly, believe in the ceaseless cleansing by which the Great Eternal Priest Himself will apply that blood to us. Let us pray with burning, and ever more burning desire that nothing, yes nothing, may be in our heart that does not experience the power of the blood. Let us unite joyfully, and ever more joyfully, in the song of the great multitude, who know nothing so glorious as this– “Thou has redeemed us to God by Thy blood.”
May our life on earth become what it ought to be, oh our beloved Lord! One ceaseless song to “Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God the Father… To Him be glory and dominion, honor and power forever and ever. Amen.”
For deeper insight into how GOD the Father sees His children; to better understand the elementary principles of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3); the ‘mysteries’ of Christ’s Kingdom; and our individual and corporate calling, commission, and empowerment- please review my first published book and the Table of Contents on the Amazon website linked here via Book Title: “Thy Kingdom Come- Here and Now!”
Forgiven by Thomas Blackshear
‘Nothing but the Blood of Jesus’ by Jars of Clay