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Blood and Water

by | Jul 6, 2022 | Holy Spirit, New Life, Salvation

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him. … For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” (1 John 5:1, 4-8 ESV)

It is a strange verse, “This is He who came by water and by blood.” What does it mean, to come by water and blood? It sounds mysterious and a bit scary. Whatever it is, it is deadly serious. John says that the water and the blood are witnesses together with the Spirit. All three bear witness to the same truth.

And what is that truth? That Jesus Christ has come; that He is the Christ and the Son of God; that He has become our Savior. We know and believe this because the Holy Spirit testifies to it in our hearts. He gives us faith in Jesus. That part, we understand.

But what about the water? What does it mean to come by water?

Maybe we can get some idea by looking at John 3:5b, where Jesus tells Nicodemus that “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Water here seems to refer to physical birth. And as anyone who has ever born a child knows, there is a lot of water involved. Babies come into this world by water, surrounded by the birth waters from their mothers’ wombs.

Did Jesus come by water this way? Oh yes. He was born of a human mother, Mary, just as all human babies are. He is no pretend human being, no spirit masquerading as a fake man. He really is God incarnate—the God who came by water, just as we do.

But He is more than that—He is the God who came by blood, the blood of His cross. It isn’t just Jesus’ birth among us that saves us; it is His death and resurrection. Jesus shared our death as well as our birth; rather, He took our death upon Himself, and bore it for us. The cross was not make-believe or an illusion, as some people imagine. Jesus really suffered; He really bled; He really died. His blood became our life.

So these are the witnesses to who Jesus really is and to what He has done to save us: the Spirit, the water, and the blood. Remembering those three, we never need to doubt who Jesus is. He is our Brother. He is our Savior. He is our Lord.

THE PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for sending Your Son to be our Savior. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Reflection Questions:
1. What ID do you carry so that people know who you are and what kind of work you do?
2. What connections with Baptism do you see in Jesus coming by water?
3. What connections with the Lord’s Supper do you see in His coming by blood?