Allow me a moment to rant – with apologies to my more charismatic friends. I have heard the phrase “plead the blood of Jesus” numerous times throughout my life. The last time I heard it, a couple of months ago, something snapped in my mind and I said to myself, “What does that even MEAN?!” I’ve always heard it used in association with dealing with some demonic influence in someone’s life. We “plead the Blood” to ensure that Satan is convinced that we mean business. It’s like using the phrase as a “power-up” to our prayer. It’s not enough that we pray in the power and authority of Jesus, no, we need to append “pleading the blood” to make sure we are heard. It’s like the devil perks up when he hears that and says to himself, “Well I guess I have to go now since they are pleading the blood.” Really? I don’t think it works that way.
But perhaps I as being too harsh or had misunderstood the use of the phrase, so I went online to search various teachers and websites to get a better perspective. It only got worse! One site actually taught that we should plead the blood over our stuff – our cars, houses, credit cards and finances. They went on to say that when we did that our stuff would be protected from anything bad. Our houses would be protected from hurricanes or tornadoes; our cars protected from breakdowns; our finances protected from identity theft or bad credit. And we had to make sure that we pled the blood at least monthly otherwise the protective nature of the blood would expire! I was horrified! But perhaps this was an extreme case so I searched on.
A couple of sites told us that “pleading the blood” was a legal term (whatever that means) that we could use in prayer to “insist” that God grant our requests. In other words, He owes us because we plead the blood. Really? “INSIST?” We are going to demand that God act according to our wishes just because we use the magical phrase! I don’t think I would dare. Many sites presented the same idea in various ways, but all suggested that the blood was to be used as a bargaining chip. Never mind asking that His will be done, or that His kingdom come, or that our prayers would bring Him glory, instead let’s make sure we claim our right to ask for whatever we want.
Many sites promoted the protective nature of the blood. They appealed to the Old Testament story of the Passover, where the blood of the sacrificed lamb brushed on their doorposts protected the Israelites from the angel of death. These teachers then take that to mean that the blood of Jesus – our Passover Lamb will protect us from bad things happening to us. I think that misses the point of that story. The blood was not meant to protect their stuff but to save them from literal, physical death. It foreshadowed the saving nature of Jesus’ sacrifice to deliver us from eternal death. Nowhere in the New Testament is the idea that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection was meant to protect us in this life from bad things happening. Nor are we ever instructed to “plead the blood” when we come before the Father in prayer. Nor does the phrase even appear in the New Testament much less carry the seemingly magical powers ascribed to it.
OK, rant over. I am truly, truly saddened (and angered) when I read these kinds of things. I think it cheapens and misrepresents the power and glory of Christ’s death. I think it reduces the splendor of Christ to a lucky charm. I believe there is great power to radically transform lives when we properly understand the meaning of the Blood of Jesus. But I don’t believe that “pleading the blood” is either necessary or biblical, at least, in the way it is commonly portrayed. Over the next several weeks I will be looking at the New Testament teaching on “The Blood. Let’s consider the wonder of Jesus’ sacrifice and stand in awe of its power to undo all the effects of sin and disarm the devil. Only then can we rightly “plead the blood” in a way that honors Him.