For protection sake let us call him Gustav. To say he was thin would be an understatement. He was all bones. I estimate he could not have been more than 120 pounds even though he stood about 5 foot 9 inches. But he wasn’t sick. He came to work every day, immaculately attired in white shirt, dark trousers, and skinny black tie knotted in a perfect V, and unlike the others around him who gabbed all day he talked very little and put in a full day’s work.
So imagine the consternation among staff when the local Blood Clinic decided to set up beds at their workplace and Gustav rolled up his sleeves. The guys felt that if anything Gustav was the one who needed blood and should not even be thinking about donating. But who would volunteer to explain to Gustav why it wasn’t a good idea for him to give blood?
I became acquainted with Gustav though work but I was not there on the day when the nurses from the clinic came to the company and set up their cots in the hallway. From what I heard, and I must confess that men and hyperboles go together like cat and mouse, Gustav saw the men in his department roll up their sleeves and so he joined the line. Why the nurses did not discourage him is likely for the same reason his colleagues did not. In any event, the story is that after Gustav gave his pint he could not get up from the cot and had to be revived with an infusion of two pints of blood.
According to medics, an average-sized man has about twelve pints of blood. They also tell us that blood pressure can be maintained at safe levels even with up to 30% of blood loss. With 50% of blood loss the Grim Reaper will be checking in at the hospital’s front desk for your room number. So blood is needed to sustain life. And just as we need it for physical life so too we need it to sustain spiritual life. The only difference is that spiritual life requires a rare blood type and only one person is known to have it in his veins.
We have all been infected with a virus called sin and it is killing us slowly. We need a blood transfusion. Thankfully we have a donor whose blood is incorruptible and whose supply is inexhaustible. That blood donor is Jesus. On the cross they pierced his head, and hands, and sides, and feet, and opened up a fountain that continues to flow to this day. His blood gives us spiritual life (Jn.6:53). It reconciles us to God (Ep.2:13). It gives us boldness to enter into the divine presence (Heb.10:19). And it cleanses us from all sin (1Jn.1:7).
Just as Gustav and all those who have suffered massive blood loss need an infusion to keep them physically alive, even so all humanity needs the blood of Jesus to keep us spiritually alive. Most comforting is the news that there is enough blood for everyone.
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.