It’s impossible to look at the cross, to read the graphic descriptions of Jesus’ death in the Bible, and not think about His blood. Christians even sing this truth for joy that we are “washed in the blood of the Lamb,”  for “what can take away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

But have you ever wondered why? Why is Jesus’ blood necessary for our salvation?

“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22

David Wheaton says the theme of redemption through blood echoes through the whole Bible.

“The idea of shedding of blood for sin is not peripheral, it is central to the Christian faith. From the very beginning when Adam and Eve sinned, God made clothing for them from animal skins – He killed animals. Humanity broke His law, and deserved His wrath, but He made a substitute. He took his wrath out on the animal as a temporary atonement for their sin. From Abraham and Isaac, to Cain and Abel, we see this.”

One clear picture foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the event of Passover:

“The ancient Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, and God sent 10 plagues to convince the pharaoh to free them. The 10th plague was death for every first born, both Egyptians and also the Jewish people. It is a vivid picture that we are all sinners and we all deserve to die for our sin because we are offending a holy and just God. To escape death, they had to take the blood of a lamb and apply the blood to the door frame of their house, so that when God passes over the land, He looks and sees the blood as covering us, as our obedience to His command,and He will pass over us, because He sees the blood as an atonement for sin.”

This vivid picture of an innocent one being sacrificed to justify the sin-debt, is fulfilled in Christ coming is the perfect lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7

To understand the need for sacrifice, we have to see three basic truths:

1. The nature of God is perfect. Because He is holy, He cannot fellowship with evil. In fact, because He is just, He must punish sin (Romans 1:18).

2. The nature of man is broken, fallen. We commit evil, selfish, God-defying acts all the time–which means we rightfully deserve death (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

3. God loves us, so deeply and so far beyond our deserving. He made a way for us to come back to Him through the death, and blood. of Jesus (Isaiah 53:5).

“This is the absolute center of the Christian faith: the blood of Christ shed for our sin. It’s about substitution. The essence of sin is man substituting himself or herself for God. In other words, we want to be like God, so we do what we want to do: that’s the essence of sin.”

“The essence of salvation, which is what redemption is about, is God substituting Himself for guilty man. God came to be among us, to live a perfect life (which we could not). Jesus Christ came to shed His blood on the cross, dying for the sins that we deserve to die for: He dies in our place so God’s wrath and His justice can be satisfied.”

David Wheaton is an author, radio host, and former professional tennis player. David’s first book, University of Destruction: Your Game Plan for Spiritual Victory on Campus reached as high as #25 on David is also the host of The Christian Worldview, a weekly, nationally-syndicated radio program that airs on 150 stations and a contributing columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Why are we washed in the blood?