The Universal Eternal Donor

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When was the last time you heard a sermon from the book of Lamentations? Frankly, I don’t ever remember hearing one! I guess we don't care to dwell too long on the negative, but our approach to Easter sparks some interesting negatively positive online conversations. I’ve been reading a series of posts built on the observance of Lent. It’s not something we Baptists celebrate unfortunately. In any case, this morning’s reading was from the book of Lamentations and appropriately had to do with godly grief (http://shereadstruth.com/2015/03/02/godly-grief-2/).

What I read hooked nicely into the Bible passage I read this morning in which Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to die and rise again. Matthew 17:23 tells us: “‘They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.’ And the disciples were filled with grief.

In the post, the grief described from Lamentations was grief over sin, the kind of grief that leads to repentance and restoration. In Matthew, the grief was of a different kind. It was the grief that comes when one thinks of losing a friend and the personal cost that such a loss brings into our lives.

But something else was triggered as I thought about the disciples’ grief at the Lord’s announcement. Yesterday we celebrated the Lord’s Table. The gentleman leading that part of the service happened to be a doctor so he began by talking about blood transfusions and how many times he had ordered them for his patients. And yet this “gift of life” as it is called, had never succeeded in ultimately saving a life because inevitably all his patients will die. Death is inevitable. He spoke about the kinds of blood and mentioned those with O Rh Negative blood who are universal donors. Anyone of any blood type can receive their blood and be helped. I happen to be a universal donor so what the doctor said next made an impact on me. He began to talk about Jesus as the universal donor. But unlike me, his blood does not simply result in a short-term remedy. His blood saves forever. Unlike my gift, those  who receive the gift of His blood will never die. And unlike me, He gave 100% of His blood to deliver me, and you, from the consequences of our sin and thereby guarantee eternal life for us.

As I thought about the grief of the disciples this morning and the post from the book of Lamentations, the connections were not hard to make. When a person understands what Jesus did when He gave His life to save mankind, that person needs to experience godly grief; to feel guilt, shame, and remorse that his sins took the innocent Son of God to a cruel cross. But more than that, there needs to be a further step. Feeling badly, even feeling guilty, is not enough. There needs to be repentance, a confession of sin, a plea for forgiveness, and a turning away from that sin. It is then that the blood that Jesus, the true universal donor, is applied. It is then that sin is washed away.

The disciples were grief-stricken at Jesus’ words but they didn’t understand fully what He was talking about. They were mourning the thought of losing their friend, their mentor. Later, at the resurrection, they would understand what they had gained because of that loss.

My little “gifts of life” as a blood donor don’t amount to a whole lot compared to His. The enormity of His gift brings joy to my heart. A little chorus by an unknown author was added to the great hymn, Nothing But the Blood of Jesus by Robert Lowry. With its words comes grateful praise to God for His gift of life to me.

Oh, the blood of Jesus!
Oh, the blood of Jesus!
Oh, the blood of Jesus!
It washes white as snow.

What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh, the blood of Jesus!
Oh, the blood of Jesus!
Oh, the blood of Jesus!
It washes white as snow.

What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

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