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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Blood relatives.

Many of us will remember the tradition, in some cultures, of a "blood brother" - with the ceremony of cutting one's arm and mixing the  blood with the blood of another who had also cut his arm. Of course, in a western culture, the expression "blood relative", tends to refer to those who have the same parents, or grandparents, or whatever.

However, on Sunday, I listened to a young Afro-American refer to his brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus as his "blood-brothers and sisters". It was something of a revelation to me! Yet, I realised, instantly, how true the description is!

What is a disciple of Jesus? I have, in the past, preached a number of sermons seeking to answer that very question. Indeed, I suspect that I have dealt with it, over the years, in this blog! However, the very least that one may say is that a true disciple of Jesus is one who has been washed in the sacrificial blood of the Saviour. It is that blood that, "... cleanses us from all sin." (I John 1:7). It is that blood that is the "crimson flow" of which the hymn-writer speaks: "Oh precious is the flow that washes white as snow. No other fount I know; nothing but the blood of Jesus." (Robert Lowry:1826-1899).

The same blood is necessary for all, and available for all. It is necessary because "... without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." (Heb.9:22). It is available for all because "... Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;" (I Peter 3:18).

This, of course, ties in with the whole idea of disciples of Jesus being brothers and sisters; adopted into the family of Father God. We are "... all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal.3:28). I now realise that we are "blood relatives" - not because we have shed our own blood (although so many in the persecuted church in more than sixty countries around the world, are faithful to the Christ, even to the shedding of their blood, and physical death), but because, on a hill called Calvary, almost 2,000 years ago, He shed His.

Are you my blood-brother/sister? Please don't be put off by what you know (or even think you know!) about me! Look to Jesus "... the pioneer and perfecter of our faith Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb.12:2). If you are washed in His blood, then you are His blood brother/sister also. Now that is something really worthwhile!

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