By Caitlin Choveaux
The reality of illness and injury means every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, 4.5 million Americans would die each year without life saving blood transfusions and, each day, approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used to save about 13,000 lives in the United States.
World Blood Donor Day on June 14 seeks to bring awareness of the growing need for blood donations globally.
I personally learned to appreciate blood donors when my dad lay paralysed in hospital with a rare auto-immune disease a few years ago. The blood platelet transfusions he received saved his life.
Chances are, you also know someone who has been in desperate need of blood.
In fact, you might be surprised to discover that we all have a need for it.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, God explained to Moses that blood was necessary for the forgiveness of sin saying, "The life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood [of an animal] on the altar to purify you, making you right with the LORD. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible" (Leviticus 17:11).
In those days a lamb without defect was regularly sacrificed and its blood spilled out so that people could be forgiven for their wrongdoing against God. A life for a life – that has always been the seriousness of sin.
Perhaps you are wondering why animal blood sacrifice is not practised by Christians today if the Bible commanded it? It's a good question – a lot has changed since that time.
God knew from the beginning that blood from animals was only a temporary solution to the ongoing problem of sin. The first half of the Bible is filled with many prophecies about the coming 'One' who would serve as the perfect permanent sacrifice.
The book of Isaiah was written over 700 years before Jesus Christ walked on earth but clearly prophesied in chapter 53 that this promised One would "be pierced for our transgressions" and be "led like a lamb to the slaughter".
Later on, in the New Testament of the Bible, we read that John the Baptist spent most of his time proclaiming that this promised One had finally arrived.
When John saw Jesus coming one day he declared loudly, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).
You may have heard Christians say all sorts of weird things like "I was washed by the blood of the Lamb" but rest assured they are not talking about a sadistic ritual of some creepy religious sort.
Instead it simply means that our sins can be forgiven because Jesus lived a sinless life and then shed His blood on the cross in our place, like an unblemished lamb. When Jesus died He cried out, "It is finished". We no longer need the blood of animals because He was the final and perfect sacrifice.
"Because of the blood of Jesus Christ, we are bought and made free from the punishment of sin. And because of His blood, our sins are forgiven" (Ephesians 1:7).
If sin is the sickness we are suffering from, then the perfect blood of Jesus is the cure we have all been looking for.
If a blood donation was needed to save your life would you accept it? More importantly, a blood donation is needed to save your soul right now, the question is will you accept it?