Nothing but the Blood of Jesus
by Dick Scott
If you don't have it, you have no life-John 6:53
As a small boy, I often sang the hymn, "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"
Many years later I would sing the chorus, "Oh, the blood of Jesus! Oh, the blood of Jesus! It will never lose its power!"
I knew it was with the price of his blood that he paid for my salvation. "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemedbut with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19). I responded, "Praise God! He redeems me!"
I had read many times, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us" (Ephesians 1:7-8). I responded, "Praise God! He forgives me!"
I understood the promise, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). I responded, "Praise God! He washes the stains away!"
Drink His Blood
These great truths of his word seemed rather easy to grasp and blessed my heart every time I read them. But I must confess that I always shied away from the reference to the blood in John 6, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (verse 53).
Jesus is standing there before the whole crowd, telling everyone that they need to drink his blood! This annoyed the Jews. Everyone knew it was forbidden by the law of Moses, and it carried very severe penalties for disobedience. So when Jesus spoke of "drinking his blood," it not only annoyed them, it was in unspeakable offense to their religious feelings. But in the true fashion of our Lord, he again had said something that grabbed their attention.
I had to deal with this verse as a Bible translator to the Choco Indians of Panama.
I've read that portion many times, and I admit my feelings often seemed to echo the feelings of the people standing around that day when they said "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Believe me, it was no small task translating these words into the Choco language without coming across that Jesus was somehow condoning cannibalism. I thought, "This is a hard teaching." But I knew I needed to get a grasp on what Jesus was saying in the passage.
Andrew Murray says, "The blood of Jesus is the greatest mystery of eternity, the deepest mystery of the divine wisdom." Although I knew I shouldn't expect to comprehend this tremendous teaching over-night, still my heart needed to understand it. What does "drinking his blood" actually mean?
In the tropical jungles of Panama I had no problem telling the difference between washing and drinking. To take a dip in the river was not only enjoyable, it seemed quite necessary. But to get a refreshing drink in that tropical climate was reviving. When water is used for washing, it cleanses. When we drink it, we are refreshed and revived. Without its cleansing, it is not possible to live as you should! But without drinking, you can't live at all!
Just as water has a two-fold effect, so it is with Christ's blood. Without drinking the blood of the son of God, that is, without the wholehearted appropriation of his blood, Jesus says that you will never have eternal life!
Two Kinds of Life
Jesus distinguishes two kinds of life. He said that you need another life, a new life, a heavenly life, and he told the crowd that day that he had it -- that he had gotten it from his heavenly Father. He said he could give it to them if they would just "drink" it.
We easily understand that natural life is nourished by bread and water. Jesus is saying that the heavenly life must be nourished by heavenly food and drink.
Eternal life is the life of God. The Lord said, "My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink"
(John 6:55). He was teaching the difference between what is only a symbol and what is genuine.
You've probably heard someone say, "I was drinking in every word the speaker said last night." They meant they were giving themselves heartily to listening and receiving everything that was said and everything that was offered to them. The idea of "drinking" indicates the deep, true appropriation of our spirit by faith of all we understand concerning the power of the blood.
The other day in a health food store I saw a bottle of some kind of drink. The advertisement extolled the wonders of this stuff. "It will protect you from infection! It will free you of impurities in your body! It will bring new energy and vitality to your life! Your thinking will be clearer! Your muscles will be stronger! You'll feel and act like a totally new person!" I thought, "Why don't I just 'glug' about a gallon of this stuff and become the next superman!"
But whatever was in that bottle wouldn't even begin to compare to what I'm told to drink in John 6. This drink brings forgiveness and wholeness.
· It washes and purifies.
· It brings peace to my heart, and it is the foundation of a new relationship with God.
· It frees me from the power of the devil.
· It declares me holy before God.
· It gives me assurance of faith, confidence in prayer and a changed life.
· It guarantees a great resurrection and promises to cause me to live forever with an eternal God who loves me in spite of all the wrong that I have ever done!
Whew! My incomparable Savior -- what a drink!
"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life" (John 6:54).
Dr. Dick Scott is President of LIFE Bible College in San Dimas, California.