In today’s society, blood often symbolizes death and violence. But in the scriptures, blood symbolizes life.
Think about it: Together with many other miracles that take place in the human body, blood gives us life. It feeds us, bringing needed nutrients and oxygen to each organ and limb. It comes to our aid in times of need, carrying cells that attack disease and other foreign invaders. And it bears our burdens, taking away the waste products from each cell and bringing them to other areas of the body to be properly disposed of.
In many ways our blood could be compared to Christ Himself. Through Him we live. He feeds our souls. He comes to our aid in our times of need, and strengthens us against sin. He bears our burdens when we bring them to Him. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as “Mormons“) believe wholeheartedly that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that only through His great Atonement may mankind be saved.
In the Old Testament, the priests in the house of Israel were instructed to perform animal sacrifices as a way of looking forward to Christ’s miraculous Atonement, in which His blood was shed and His life was sacrificed for our sins. In the New Testament, Christ instituted the ordinance of the sacrament. Some people would recognize this as Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
After introducing the bread as symbolic of His body, He blessed the cup and gave it to His disciples, saying, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28) Christ shed His blood, His life, for the remission of our sins.
Latter-day Saints do not believe that the emblems of the sacrament become literally transformed into the body and blood of Christ. But taking the sacrament weekly helps us to remember Him and His great sacrifice for us. It allows us to renew our covenants, recommitting ourselves to keep His commandments and stand as His witness.
The idea of something like blood being able to actually cleanse us may seem odd to our senses. But taken with the idea that blood brings life, we can understand that Christ gave His life for us, and it is through that atoning sacrifice that we can be made clean from our sins through the power of repentance.
King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon explained:
And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent…Salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent. (Mosiah 3:17-18)
We are eternally indebted to our Savior for His Atonement – that through His blood, we can be made clean.