When I See the Blood

Detectives are called in to examine a potential crime. No body has been found, but there is blood at the scene. “From the amount of blood here,” one surmises, “I’d say we’re looking at a murder.” They know, without seeing the victim’s body, that a person cannot survive the loss of such a great amount of blood.
Is there life after death? The answer to that question determines whether we should be interested in Christianity. One of the strongest claims of the Christian faith is that followers of Jesus will be raised from the dead to enjoy eternal life. “Rubbish!” cries the skeptic. “There’s nothing to suggest another life after one dies. Why there’s not even any proof that a person will be resurrected.”
During Jesus’ ministry on earth, his power over death was made clear. In the cases of Jairus’ daughter (Matthew 9:18-25), the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-15) and Lazarus (John 11:38-44), the power of God over death was demonstrated. Skeptics, however, remain unconvinced. “How can we know they were really dead, and not simply comatose?” We continue to read reports of people who have been mistakenly pronounced dead.
Among all the cases in the Bible of resurrection from death, only one explicitly involves blood. The gospel writers don’t dwell on this aspect of Jesus’ death, but the implications are inescapable. How could one endure Roman scourging (Matthew 27:26) without great loss of blood from the slashes inflicted? Dozens of thorns pressed deeply into the scalp (Matthew 27:29) would result in further blood loss. When spikes were driven through the Lord’s hands and feet (Matthew 27:35), even more blood would drain from his body.
The only specific mention of blood during this horrific event is from John: “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came forth” (John 19:34, NKJV). Jesus was already dead when the spear was thrust. But if anyone doubted that he was dead, they were convinced by this last act. Jesus, in essence, bled out.
To deny that Jesus’ tomb was found empty is an exercise in futility. To say that Jesus’ followers were not convicted by the reality of his resurrection is to reject solid historical testimony. And to argue that Jesus was not really dead to begin with is laughable. When I see the blood, I know certainly that Jesus died.
Which makes Paul’s proclamation all the more powerful: “… and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). What do we say of one who was convincingly put to death and then was convincingly raised from death? Thomas’s response seems most appropriate: “… My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

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