Thursday, November 23, 2006

Blessed ~ Marked With Blood


I came across a very interesting bit concerning the origin of the English word “bless.” We find it quite often, of course, in the Bible, throughout the Old and New Testaments. It has come to represent happiness and well-being, but it originally meant “to mark with blood,” and was used of things that were sacred, or made holy.

That puts a whole new spin on it for me. It sends my mind to two distinct events in the Bible, one in the Old Testament and one in the New. In the Old Testament, it takes me to that first Passover night when each Jewish household was to take an unblemished lamb, slay it and paint its blood on the doorposts of the house. Then when the LORD passed through to strike the firstborn of each Egyptian family, He would pass over the homes where the doorposts were marked with the blood of the lamb and He would not allow the destroyer to come there. Each house that was marked with blood from the lamb was thus blessed.

In the New Testament, the original meaning of “bless” takes me to the place to which the Passover points — the cross, where the Jesus the Messiah shed His blood on our behalf and in our place. Like the doorposts of those Jewish homes in the land of Egypt, it was marked with the blood of the Lamb, and that is indeed a blessing for us.

On the night Jesus was betrayed, which was at Passover, He instituted the Table of the Lord. After distributing the bread, He took up the cup, offered thanks and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:27-28).

The apostle Paul called it the cup of blessing: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16). The Greek word for “communion” is koinonia, and refers to fellowship and participation.

The apostle John speaks of the blood of the New Covenant which is presented to us by this cup.
If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin … If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7,9)

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6)

The wood of the cross has been marked with the blood of the Lamb, who suffered there in our place. By that blood, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are washed and cleansed of all sin — marked by blood.

In the Table of the Lord, we call to mind the great saving event of the cross, and by faith lay hold of all its benefits and blessings.