BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–With the recent release of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of The Christ,” many Christians and non-Christians alike are looking deeper into the life and death of Jesus. Some are struck speechless with awe and reverence for God’s great sacrifice. Others are horrified as they watch the graphic depiction of the crucifixion of Christ.
But viewers should not be appalled by the blood of Jesus because it is that blood that gives purpose to the entire life of Christ, according to Jennifer Kennedy Dean, author of “The Life-Changing Power in the Blood of Christ,” a new Bible study from New Hope Publishers.
“The thread that runs through the whole Scripture is that the blood is the life,” Dean said. “One of the mistaken ideas that people have when they are repelled by the bloodiness of the crucifixion is that blood is a symbol of death. But the truth is that blood is a symbol of life. Jesus poured out His life for us so that He can pour out His life in us so that He can pour out His life through us.”
Dean said there is much to understand about the blood of Christ.
“The importance of the blood does not begin when He begins to shed it on the Cross, that’s the crescendo moment,” she said. “The blood has been central and active since the beginning of time. The salvation that He worked out for us did not begin at the cross but from the moment He was conceived in the womb of Mary.”
In her interactive, Scripture-rich Bible study, Dean says that as descendants of Adam, all people are born with a sin disease that leads to certain death and the blood of Jesus is the only cure for that disease.
“Every time Jesus faced the enemy, it was for you,” Dean writes. “Every temptation Jesus endured and triumphed over was for you. Victory by victory, the antibodies against sin were being formed. Encounter by encounter, your salvation was being worked out in the blood of Jesus.”
Referring to 1 Corinthians 15:45, Dean calls Jesus the last Adam who “was tempted at each level of his humanity –- body, soul and spirit.”
She writes, “Jesus’ job as the last Adam was to reverse, step by step, everything the first Adam did. He had to face the same challenges that confronted the first Adam, but to resist sin where the first Adam fell into sin. He regained what Adam lost.”
According to Dean, in concentrating only on the saving power of Jesus’ blood, many have forgotten that it is presently and continuously cleansing us from unrighteousness.
“In 1 John we read that because of the blood of Jesus, God forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness,” she said. “Our sins are completely forgiven in one fell swoop because of the cross. Our unrighteousness is progressively being cleansed because of the resurrection. So our salvation is two-layered: what Christ did for me and Who Christ is in me.”
Through this Bible study, Dean hopes that readers will develop a deeper appreciation for the blood that Jesus shed for them.
“I would hope that they would come to such an overwhelming awareness of the scope of their salvation that they would never take it for granted,” she said. “I would hope that they would reach the conclusion that the blood of Jesus in its present and active form is the most precious gift that God can give.”
“The Life-Changing Power in the Blood of Christ” is available online at www.lifewaystores.com.
Dean, co-founder of the Praying Life Foundation, conducts seminars around the world addressing prayer as a relationship, and has written numerous magazine articles on prayer and spiritual development. With three college-age sons, she and her husband, Wayne, live near Kansas City, Mo. For more information on Dean, see www.prayinglife.org. New Hope Publishers is a division of Woman’s Missionary Union of the Southern Baptist Convention. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BLOOD IN THE BIBLE.