Your Daily Lenten Devotional
March 15, 2012
Into the Wilderness
Transfused With His Eternal Life
“Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, `How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ Jesus said to them, `I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him'” (John 6:52—56).
Jesus shocked His listeners with these statements. “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”‘ (John 6:60).
The words are somewhat jarring to our ears, but they were even more so to His Jewish audience. They understood Him to be speaking metaphorically. Such metaphor was a typical teaching device for Jewish rabbis. However, one of the most important injunctions in their religion was, “Don’t eat the blood. The blood is the life.” Here was Jesus, that outrageous teacher, saying, “Drink My blood. My blood is real drink. Unless you drink My blood, you have no life in you.” This was so controversial that it was the beginning of the falling away of many of His followers. “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66).
What did Jesus want us to understand? Why did He make this unsettling statement? He is saying: “My life must be inside you.” His life cannot impart life to us from outside. He must be in us. Drawing the best biological understanding of His times, Jesus drew a graphic word picture of how that which is outside of you can be inside of you: eating and drinking. If He were drawing the picture using twenty-first-century concepts, He might have used the picture of blood transfusion. He wants to transfuse us with His life…
…Just as blood flows through your physical veins, His life flows through your spirit veins. Your physical body is a picture, a shadow, of your spirit. Just as your natural earth body is given life through blood, so your spirit has life through the life of Christ.
When He transfuses His life into us, His life banishes my death. Jesus is the life. Apart from Him, only death, or the “not life,” flows through spirit veins. Remember? He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son has “not life.”
Let me show you a picture. My brother, Roger, died of leukemia when he was 17 years old. Death was in his blood. Instead of carrying life and cleansing from cell to cell and from organ to organ, Roger’s blood carried death and disease. His body had no other source for power and life.
I remember when he was first diagnosed. The very first step in his treatment was to give him a transfusion of healthy blood. A call went out through our community that Roger needed blood. The Red Cross set up a bloodmobile in our church basement and people waited in line for the opportunity to give their healthy blood to replace his diseased blood. Through the miracle of blood transfusion, the very blood that ran through my veins could, temporarily, replace the death-carrying blood that ran through his veins. My life could be in him—just for a moment. And for that short time when my life was in him, it overcame his death. This is what Jesus does. He transfuses His life into you to replace the “not life” that flows through you.
You were born in the line of Adam. Your spirit veins should have been carrying life, but instead they were carrying death. Jesus has opened His veins and poured out His life so that He can flow through you.
In Roger’s case, the blood transfusion was only a stopgap measure. His body continued to produce diseased blood. Only while the healthy blood flowed in his veins were his disease’s effects slowed. Soon the “not life” filled his veins again. But Jesus’ transfusion is different. It is eternal.
Body of Righteousness
Look again at Paul’s word from Romans 6:6–7:
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”
Paul says that our body of sin, or the body of death (Romans 7:24), has already been done away with. Yet you have the same body now that you had before you were given eternal life. How can Paul speak of the body of sin and the body of death as being done away with? I wrote about this briefly in my book, He Restores My Soul:
He says that when my old self is crucified, “the body of sin” is “done away with.” What is he saying? When he uses the phrase “body of sin,” he means the body (the vehicle through which we perform) that belongs to sin; the body through which the old nature acts. When I enter into the crucifixion of Jesus, I do not get a new earth-body. I look just the same as I did before. But now that same old body has been made new internally. Now it no longer contains death; now it contains life. Think of it like this: my computer is encased in an outer structure. When I look at my computer, I see its casing. That’s how I recognize it as my computer. However, what really makes my computer my computer is its inner workings. If I were to take my computer to a technician and ask him take out the old computer and put in an entirely new computer, but keep the outer structure, when I take the computer home, I now have a brand new computer. It looks the same to my eyes, but it is a brand new creation. It has a new operating system; it runs new programs; it responds to different commands than before. When Christ comes to be my life, my body is no longer a body of sin. It is now a body of righteousness because the body of sin has been done away with.
Paul says that the transformation is so drastic, so radical, that his body, once a container of death, is now a container of life. The “body of death” has been done away with.
You no longer live in a body of sin. You commit sins sometimes, and you sometimes step over into flesh, but that is not in line with your new nature. Why, when you sin or act in flesh, does it bother you? Because it doesn’t fit you. Settle in your mind and heart right now that you are a new creation in Christ if you are a Christian.
Altar’d: Experience the Power of Resurrection
Jennifer Kennedy Dean
Retail Price: $14.99
CBD Price: $9.99
Experience in this 40-day exploration of the Scriptures what it means to live a life alive to the Spirit of God. Author Jennifer Kennedy Dean believes we are created to live in an “altar’d” state-where we surrender our wills and live the life God desires for us. The Altar’d journey is ideal for the Lenten season, as you explore the freedom of dying to self and living in the power of Jesus’ resurrected life.
Used with the kind permission of our friends at New Hope Publishers.