We tend to avoid the blood conversation. The word, “blood” oozes tragedy, vampires, crime scenes and the doctor’s office.
Not long ago I started my day early – without breakfast – at the lab to give blood. It was, actually, a forced donation, ordered by my doctor and administered by a young lady who seemed painfully inexperienced in the procedure. After two unsuccessful punctures, she drew two vials of my blood.
Third time’s a charm.
There is a reason why your annual physical begins with “blood work.” It turns out that the red rivers that flow beneath your skin carry the miracle of life. Later that week I sat with my doctor as he walked through the results on two pages of small print. When it became obvious it was a good report I glazed over and nodded approvingly.
At least one of us knew what to look for. I had done my part. But it did get me thinking about why a medical professional would pay so much attention to two vials of blood and make it the basis for his conclusions.
Your Story is in Your Blood
According to Prevention Magazine, “Every one of us has between 1,000 and 2,000 measurable proteins in our blood,” says Stefan Enroth, PhD, an associate professor of immunology at Sweden’s Uppsala University. Each of those proteins performs several tasks, he says, and the more researchers learn about them, the more they’ll be able to tell you about what’s going on throughout the rest of your body.
And this is just scratching the epidermis!
Who you are, what you like, how you respond to situations, your strengths, weaknesses, likely lifespan, what you’re good at, what you’re not – it’s all there in your blood. That’s pretty amazing! But there’s more…
Your Life Is in Your Blood
The Bible is a crossover book. It spans earth and heaven, explaining the deeper meaning of the mundane, including something as physical as blood.
Dr. M.R. DeHaan, a Bible teacher of the last century and physician, wrote, “The Bible is a book of blood and a bloody book.” He gives this striking description of blood and the human body:
“In the normal human body there are about five pints of this fluid, and this blood pumped by the heart circulates through the system about every twenty-three seconds, so that every cell in the body is constantly supplied and cleansed and at the same time is in constant communication and touch with every other cell in that body.
“This blood is the most mysterious of all tissues, being composed of scores of elements and compounds and strange chemical bodies, whose function is not yet fully understood, but all of which have to do with the mystery of life for the ‘life is in the blood.’ Once the blood fails to reach the cells and members of the body, they promptly die and no man ever dies until his blood ceases to circulate.
“The life of the creature is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17.11)
The Crimson Worm
I had never heard of this creature until a friend of mind told me to check it out. There are different words for “worm” in Hebrew. When King David penned this psalm about Jesus, he made an interesting word choice. Jesus describes himself as, “a worm and not a man.” The Hebrew word he chooses is, “tola-ath” which means scarlet worm. He passed over the more common word, “rimmah,” which means “maggot.”
This is how the crimson worm rolls: it attaches itself to a piece of wood for child bearing, forming a hard shell that protects it and its young. When the larvae grow to maturity the mother dies, oozing a crimson dye that stains its young for life. They become crimson worms.
After three days, it turns into a white wax that falls to the ground like snow. This is strikingly similar to the story of Christ followers who are “washed” in the blood of their savior, who was raised from the dead after three days. The Bible says they become white like snow, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” (Isaiah 1.18)
Is this a stretch? I don’t think so. The story of blood is amazing enough. Why wouldn’t God create a metaphor in nature to tell the more amazing story of salvation?