Nothin’ but the Blood

this artwork comes from Kate Hull Designs

…the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness…so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people…” Hebrews 9:22&28

 

Oh precious is the flow

That makes me white as snow

No other Fount I know…

Nothin’ but the blood of Jesus…

 

Macbeth is my favourite tragedy – odd as that sounds. It is such a rich, cautionary tale; one that speaks so clearly to the consequences of one’s “vaulting ambition.” But it is Lady Macbeth who is most striking. By the end of the play when the fabric of their murder plot unravels, she is driven mad by her guilt.

Out, damn’d spot! Out I say…What, will these hands ne’er be clean?…Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. O, O, O! (V,I)

Vancouver's Bard on the Beach is putting on Macbeth this summer.

Well, we’re all Lady Macbeth, aren’t we?  We’re all sinners, all guilty, all covered in blood. If we were left in such a state, it would drive us mad. Who could bear it?

What can wash away my sin? What can make me whole again?

Nothin’. Nothin’!

Nothin’ but the blood of Jesus, that is.  Jesus, the perfect High Priest, “entered the Most Holy Place once and for all, by his own blood… How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself unblemished to God, cleans our consciences form acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (9:14)

artwork from godartist

What can one say to that, except this:

Now by this I’ll overcome
Now by this I’ll reach my home
Glory, glory, this I see
All my praise for this I bring

Prolific hymn-writer and pastor, Robert Lowry (who also wrote such favourites as We’re Marching to Zion, I Need Thee Every Hour, All the way my Saviour Leads Me and Shall We Gather at the River) penned these words in 1876, near the end of his 73 years on earth.  He wrote more than 500 songs but was sad when he became known for his song writing rather than his preaching. He once stated: “Music, with me has been a side issue… I would rather preach a gospel sermon to an appreciative audience than write a hymn. I have always looked upon myself as a preacher and felt a sort of depreciation when I began to be known more as a composer.” Seems to me, Pastor Lowry, that with your music, you do both.

If  When Love Comes to Town is a Call to Confession, then Nothin’ But the Blood offers the Words of Assurance we all need to hear. We’ll be singing the Jars of Clay/5 Blind Boys of Alabama version of this tune on Good Friday – they adapted it to perfection, we figured, why mess with that?

How do you respond to the literal sacrifice of Jesus?

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