by Thomas Prachar
As a person who suffers from chronic sinus problems, I just happen to live in a part of the country (the Prairies) that is not kind to my condition. Especially in the winter when temperatures are most frigid, the air is very dry here. As a result, the dry air I breathe in causes sinus havoc. If I don’t keep my nasal passages moist with saline solution, I can count on drawing blood when I blow my nose. And I’ve had some bloody noses in my time! Sometimes the blood keeps flowing to such an extent that I consider heading to the hospital for professional help. Thankfully, I have not had to resort to such measures.
Of course, we all know that blood is a very important component in our bodies. In my simple understanding, blood brings oxygen and nourishment to our tissues and removes carbon dioxide and other waste. Without blood, we die. If we lose too much blood, it can sometimes be replenished through transfusions, often from people with the same blood type. If we experience a bloody nose or a cut, the spilled blood can be quite a mess to clean up.
In my daily devotions, I’m currently reading God’s instructions to His chosen people about sacrifices for sin in the book of Leviticus. It’s quite a bloody mess! As animals are sacrificed, blood is poured, sprinkled, or applied to altar, priest, and people in order to forgive sin.
The breaking of God’s Law and will bring deadly consequences that you and I cannot erase by our own efforts. As we enter another Lenten season, we hear much about blood. Lent is all about the blood of Jesus that was shed for sinners by His death on a cross. And because Jesus was the sinless Lamb of God, His blood was shed as the complete payment for our sin. The apostle Paul writes, “In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Ephesians 1:7). “We have been justified by his blood,” says Paul to the Romans (Romans 5:9). He also writes that “you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Lent is all about the blood of Jesus that was shed for sinners by His death on a cross.
Yes, the season of Lent is a bloody mess. But because it’s Jesus’ blood given for our sin, it is a cleansing blood, blood that covers our sin, blood that gives life again. And so we sing during Lent:
Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.
But Christ, the heav’nly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.
(LSB 431 vv.1-2)
Rev. Thomas Prachar is President of the Central District of Lutheran Church–Canada.