Donating Blood to remember the Easter blood sacrifice
Members of Devonport churches are competing to donate the most blood as a practical means of marking Easter and saving lives.
Church leaders thought the friendly competition in support of life through a small sacrifice of blood and time was better than a combined Easter church service or special event. Churches will still have individual services over what is termed “Holy Week” as the events of this period of time represent the core of Christianity: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christians believe Jesus died to heal and restore all that is broken in the world, including our failings in word, thought, actions and inaction, and wants a personal relationship with us in this life and beyond our own physical death. Easter represents sacrifice, redemption and freedom.
Easter became necessary when mankind first rebelled against God with the consumption of forbidden fruit in a garden (Eden) after the creation of the world. The result was guilt and shame as mankind became separated from God. Picture Adam and Eve hiding from God and making clothes out of animal skins.
God sends his only son, God incarnate (in the flesh) as the supreme sacrifice for our wrong doing.
Enter Jesus, born in a manger in a far-flung backwater of the Roman Empire at the first Christmas 2,020 years ago, and who dies in a very brutal and public execution 33 years later.
Like all great, world-changing events, Easter is an epic drama where the hero, Jesus, (whose name means saviour) a carpenter’s son, a nobody, from nowhere special, performs a series of amazing miracles and brings hope to a downtrodden people before being betrayed by a so-called mate and crucified on a Roman cross, the punishment reserved for the worst enemies of the state.
All seems lost as Jesus is laid to rest in a borrowed grave until he defeats sin and death and rises on Easter Sunday. Hollywood calls it “the greatest story ever told,” Christians call it salvation, the way back to God, and the means to lasting freedom from guilt, shame and condemnation.
Australians understand the profound significance of ANZAC Day, a day (April 25) that commemorates the sacrifice that many made and continue to make, that we might live in freedom. Those who made the ultimate sacrifice willingly gave their lives for the cause of freedom.
Tragically the “war to end all wars” (WWI) wasn’t. Armed conflicts have required successive generations to serve and sacrifice to keep the peace. More and more blood has been spilled in the name of freedom, family and country.
Similarly, the Jews resorted to endless animal blood sacrifices as a temporary means of trying to remove guilt and shame until Jesus, referred to as the sacrificial “lamb of God” became the ultimate and perfect blood sacrifice. He was slain like countless animals before him, but as one finally able to bridge the gap between God and man.
The Bible, in Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) says “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us
Jesus’ blood was shed so that ours didn’t have to be. And He gave His blood, died for us, while we were still saying “No, I don’t believe” and “No, I don’t want you.”
Many people have heard of an oft-quoted Bible verse, John 3:16 which declares that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Like a blood donation, salvation through Jesus is a free gift. No one forces us to give blood or put our trust and eternal hope in Jesus.
Christians from various churches are donating blood, not to earn God’s favour or buy a ticket to heaven, but to express our gratitude for what Jesus has done for us with the voluntary shedding of blood that enabled us to have a personal relationship with God in this life and beyond.
It’s a story of hope, of second, third and fourth chances, of forgiveness and lasting peace. Thank you for reading this and for taking time to consider giving blood to help save a life.