Blood is one area where knowledge is still blossoming. But just think of this. Transfusions were not common until the turn of the twentieth century, and even then it had to be a live donor for an immediate transfusion. It went on that way for nearly four decades. Finally, Dr Bernard Fantus at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago performed several experiments and determined that human blood, under refrigeration, could last up to ten days. Still not long, but enough for him to start the first blood bank on March 15, 1937. Imagine the lives that were suddenly saved. It must have seemed like a miracle.
Medicine has progressed even further. My little bit of research tells me that at 1-6 degrees Centigrade, blood can now be kept up to 42 days, and that some of it can be frozen for up to ten years. I wonder if Dr Fantus had any idea what he had put into motion.
But sooner or later that blood does become stale. It is no longer usable to save lives. And if there is a sudden loss of power that cannot be maintained with a generator or other power source, all of it will spoil almost immediately.
Imagine a blood that never loses its potency, that never becomes stale, that will always save.
For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, Heb 9:24-26.
Jesus does not have to offer himself “repeatedly.” He does not have to keep a fresh supply of blood handy. The saving power of his blood lasts forever. And what exactly does it do?
It makes propitiation, Rom 3:23.
It justifies, Rom 5:9.
It brings us “near,” Eph 2:13.
It purifies our consciences and makes us able to serve God, Heb 9:14.
It forgives, Heb 9:23.
It cleanses us from sin, 1 John 1:7.
Now understand this—it isn’t the fact that Jesus cut his finger one day and bled a little. Blood in the Bible has always represented a death. The blood that saves us is the death he willingly died on our behalf, because only a sacrificial death can atone for sin (Lev 17:11). And we don’t have to worry about “types” and “factors.” His blood will cleanse us from “all sin,” 1 John 1:7.
Nowadays people want nothing to do with another person’s blood. Everyone wears gloves. But to gain the benefits of Christ’s blood you have to “touch” it. How do you contact that blood? You simply “die” with Christ. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life, Rom 6:3,4.
And that blood bank still works for us. It keeps right on forgiving as needed, as we repent and continue to walk in him for the rest of our lives.
Only once--that’s all he had to suffer. Our trips to the blood bank will likely be more than once, but may they become less and less often as we grow in grace and faith and love. It will be there when we need it, but let’s not squander a precious gift, nor take it for granted.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him, Heb 9:27,28.