A preacher of prominence attended worship at a church known for its evangelical fervor. With evident distress and displeasure, he listened to a message on the atoning power of the blood of Christ. At the conclusion of the service the visitor said to the pastor, “My God is not the bloodthirsty God that you have pictured. My God is one of love and needs not to be appeased with blood. I have no respect for the God whom you worship.”

This remark, stated with deep feeling and sincerity, not only evidenced complete misunderstanding of the sense in which the evangelical preacher employed the term “blood” but also manifested an ignorance of the God revealed in Scripture. Knowledge of the Scriptures should have shown him that mere blood does not effect appeasement. The term was correctly used as defined by Christ, the apostles and the liturgies of the Church.

A similar misunderstanding was shown by some who followed Christ during his earthly ministry. Jesus startled listeners with the statement, “Except ye eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53). Certain disciples understood this in a literal, carnal sense. They were offended even as the visiting preacher was offended at the preaching of the blood. They called it a hard saying and left Christ.

Jesus explained that literal drinking of his blood would not issue into eternal life. There must be a partaking of it in a spiritual way. He called attention to the fact that the Spirit quickeneth and that the words which he spoke are spirit and life (John 6:63). The flesh and blood represented the suffering and death of Jesus. To eat his flesh and drink his blood is to appropriate by faith the expiation wrought ...

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