Blood and the new life

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Leviticus 16:29 – 18:30; Proverbs 10:27-28

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”

REFLECT
Why must it be the blood that that makes atonement for sins? Why can’t it be any other parts of the body of the sacrifice? As the Lord said it, because it is the life. The blood is the life of the flesh and therefore only the blood can atone for sins; because sin causes death. Life, represented by the blood of the sacrifices must be brought to the altar of the holy God to atone for sins which causes death.

The people of Israel were taught that blood is sacred. They were taught in Deuteronomy 12:23 that the blood is the life and therefore they must not eat the life with the meat. As the idea of the sacredness of blood was passed through the generations, the Jews developed elaborate rituals (kashrut) regarding the consumption of food and the slaughter of animals. For example, an animal must be ritually slaughtered, not just by anyone, but by someone certified to do so (shochet) and all the blood drained out of the carcass before it can be kosher (pure) for consumption.

RELATE
I have a fear of seeing blood being shed. Especially my own blood. I will feel dizzy just by looking at the tube drawing my blood when I go for blood donation drives. So these days, I will just be looking at everything else, except for that tube. Yet, I also know that blood gives life and this amazing creation by our Lord is meant to provoke certain feelings in us, unlike any other parts of our body.

My children, when they see blood on their hands or legs when they had a fall, would immediately ask for help. Just a few weeks ago, Elyse was trying to use a stapler and incidentally stapled her finger. I brought her to the sink and pull out the staple. That caused just a slight trickle of blood; but it was enough to cause a little pain to my heart.

Blood is created to be the life of all humans and animals; and we are created to react to it in a certain manner. We are supposed to view it as precious. We are supposed to view it as sacred. Yet, blood is mindlessly shed on a daily basis when humans violently slaughtered one another through civil wars, greed, lust and revenge. When we watch all these in the news, or even what is acted out in the movies on a regular basis, we might become “desensitized” to the seriousness of all that is happening.

Yet, the sacredness of blood is reality. God created it that way. If our blood, stained by sin, is sacred and precious to God; how much more the blood of Christ? Hebrews 9:13-14 says: “For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

So Jesus’ death on the cross not only atone for our sins, but brings the new life to those who believe. In other words, our redemption through the blood of Christ is not just about the forgiveness of sins. It is also about living out what is given as the new life to us. So it is not just about being cleanse of our sinful habits; but learning more and more to love as God loves. This new life also compels us into making life choices which we would not have otherwise made if we still dwell in our old ways.

Our blood is sacred and now the blood in our veins are changed by the blood of Christ which is much more sacred. Question is, are we consistently living out what is now pumping in our veins as the new life? Or are there times where we will still look back and find pleasures or comfort dwelling in the old?

REST
Lord our God, help us to live as a people who truly understand that it is the new life that we have been redeemed for. Amen.

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Day 302

by Rev Joel Yong

Galatians 6:17
From now on, don’t make any trouble for me! After all, I carry the scars of Jesus on my body.

The Judaizers were asking the believers to get circumcised- so that by those physical marks they would gain acceptance. The mark of circumcision was their badge of identity.

Paul instead references the physical marks on his body- scars received because he suffered beatings for preaching Christ – as his sign of acceptance by God as His messenger.

Paul had actual fruit from his ministry.
He preached and people were converted.
He taught about Jesus and authorities tried to stop him from doing so.
He pressed on and did not give up when the going was tough.

As Paul wrote-

Galatians 6:15
Certainly, it doesn’t matter whether a person is circumcised or not. Rather, what matters is being a new creation.

The mark of genuine followership of Jesus is proved by the transformation one has undergone by yielding his life to God. Not about mere talk and boasts.

Paul had a transformed life.
He went from being a persecutor of the Christians, and became a vocal advocate.
He went from being a self-righteous man, and became one who trusted only in Christ’s righteousness.
From a murderer watching the coats of those who stoned Stephen, he became a minister of Jesus.

Our identity is not proven merely by the cross pendant we wear on our necks.
It is proven by the change in our lives and what we do.
We are not merely a people who go to church.

No we are a people who have become the Church.