In 20:28 Paul charges the elders of the church in Ephesus “to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.” The Greek word translated “obtained” also means acquired or purchased. Whenever we purchase something, we acquire it, or obtain it. God acquired, obtained, the church by purchasing it In order to purchase anything, we need to pay the price for that thing. What was the price God paid to purchase the church? According to Paul’s word in 20:28, God obtained the church by paying the price of “His own blood.”
The phrase “His own blood” in verse 28 is very unusual. It is quite bothering. Can God have blood? God is God; He is not a man or a creature. How, then, can God, the Creator, have blood?
Some may try to explain this by saying that the blood in 20:28 is the blood of Jesus. But how can Jesus’ blood be God’s blood? The Lord Jesus is God, but 20:28 does not speak of Jesus; this verse speaks of God. As we consider this, we realize that it is very difficult to explain theologically.
More than two centuries ago, Charles Wesley wrote a hymn that speaks of God dying for us. In this hymn Wesley says:
Amazing love! how can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
In this hymn Wesley goes on to say, “Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!” Here Wesley declares that God died for us. When I was translating this hymn into Chinese years ago, I was troubled by this. I was not sure whether to be so bold as to translate it literally to indicate that God died for us. Do you have the boldness to say that God died for you? Charles Wesley saw the vision concerning this and declared in his hymn that God died for us.
The God who died for us is not the God before incarnation. Prior to incarnation, God certainly did not have blood, and He could not have died for us. It was after the incarnation, in which God was mingled with humanity, that He died for us. Through incarnation, our God, the Creator, the eternal One, Jehovah, became mingled with man. As a result, He was no longer only God—He became a God-man. As the God-man, He surely had blood and was able to die for us.
When the God-man died on the cross, He died not only as man but also as God. The One who died on the cross was the One who had been conceived of God and born with God. Because He was a God-man, the very element of God was in Him. The divine element was mingled with His humanity.
In the conception of the Lord Jesus, the God-man, the divine essence out of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18-20; Luke 1:35) was generated in Mary’s womb. Such a conception of the Holy Spirit in the human virgin, accomplished with both the divine and human essences, constituted a mingling of the divine nature with the human nature and produced the God-man, One who is both the complete God and a perfect man, possessing the divine nature and the human nature distinctively, without a third nature being produced. This is the most wonderful and excellent Person of Jesus.
The conception and birth of the Lord Jesus was God’s incarnation (John 1:14), constituted of the divine essence added to the human essence, hence, producing the God-man of two natures—divinity and humanity. Through this, God joined Himself to humanity that He might be manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16) and might be the Savior (Luke 2:11) who died and shed His blood for us.
© Living Stream Ministry All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.