Sometimes I live under a rock. I am utterly oblivious to what is going on in the world or popular at the moment. For example, I had no idea that a popular Christian song, “Plead the Blood” was released in May 2023. Honestly, I was wondering why I was hearing so many people say the phrase recently. It seems to be the new catchphrase in American Christian pop circles. Should we plead the blood of Jesus over our lives?
This phrase just doesn’t sit well with me and feels off. I remember the first time hearing it. I was 16 and so young in the faith. I didn’t know anything. When a traveling ministry team came to our church to help coach and direct an evangelical production, I was hooked! Put me in, coach! I remember the leader asking me to pray over the team before the event and specifically stated, “Pam, lead us in prayer and plead the blood of Jesus”. I am honestly not even sure if I had ever prayed in front of people at that point in life. But here I was praying my 16-year-old heart out and proclaiming the blood of Jesus over all of it without a clue what I was saying. The more you know, the more you grow. So let’s dive into this phrase a bit, and why it’s problematic…
1. It is not used anywhere in the Bible. The entire Bible. Nowhere. Jesus didn’t teach this to his disciples. His apostles didn’t teach it to the early church. Did I say it was NOWHERE in the Bible? Literally NOwhere.
2. Honestly, point number one is enough for me, but I recognize others may want more than that. The phrase was made popular by the Word of Faith movement in the 1960s, and is used primarily in Pentecostal or super-charismatic circles today. The Word of Faith movement claims the phrase was used by William Seymour in the Azusa Street Mission and Revival of the early 1900s.
I report this brief history to give an understanding of how infrequently it has been used in the last 1,900 years since Jesus’ death and resurrection. The influx of this phrase has been in the last century.
I am not a historian of the Azusa Street Mission and Revivals. Just a few Google articles and sermons here and there (in my 20+ years of following Christ) are about the extent of my research into Azusa Street. I believe that God moved in mighty ways to provide salvation and healing to many. I believe that those in attendance saw the mighty works of God. William Seymour once commented that one of the greatest things that ever took place at Azusa Street was unity in the body. In the early 1900s, white, black, Latino, and Asian brothers and sisters in Christ gathered to worship together. People were set free from the bondage of sin.
3. Let’s take a closer look at the definition of the word “plead”. The Cambridge Dictionary gives two definitions for this word. The first is used as a request, and the second as a state.
- to make an urgent, emotional statement or request for something
- to make a statement of what you believe to be true, especially in support of something or someone or when someone has been accused in a law court.
Might I ask, what are we requesting Jesus to do by pleading His blood? What statement do you believe to be true about the blood of Christ when you plead it? I believe that the majority of us would respond that we want safety and protection: from any and everything that could harm our bodies, homes, and families. I don’t think that request in and of itself is a bad thing. If we begin to believe that making a simple statement such as, “plead the blood of Jesus”, will invoke a divine protection that can’t be broken by any outside force we have become dangerous in our theological understanding of God, His Word, and the work of Christ on the cross.
4. To “plead the blood of Jesus” starts a pattern of thinking that Jesus’ blood is like a magical elixir. By pleading it over your life, loved ones, home, etc. you are suddenly protected in this bubble of “nothing bad can happen.” This is creating a false narrative over our life that God simply does not promise in His word.
Let us be reminded of the purpose of the blood of Jesus: It was through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, that his blood was shed and his body was broken; so that whoever believes in Him, might be saved. It was through Jesus’ shed blood that forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation with God were made available. It was through the shed blood of Christ that atonement was made for our inherently sinful and wicked hearts. Through faith in Christ, we would be called the sons and daughters of God and become the righteousness of God. It is through the shed blood of Jesus, the son of God, that we have hope. The hope of eternity. Not that life would be perfect, that terrible things would not befall us, that we wouldn’t suffer, never get sick, never die, never experience grief or loss. Rather, we were given the hope of eternity. That despite this sin-filled world of evil and chaos, we would be in eternity with God our creator where death would no longer reign and Jesus would rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The blood of Jesus was always about allowing us to have a relationship with the Holy God of all creation. Where sin would no longer separate us, but we would be reconciled to our Creator.
Does freedom in Christ allow healing and miracles? ABSOLUTELY! I most certainly believe that God provides miracles within His will, for His glory, still today! God is at work in miraculous ways that are a part of His sovereign plan and will. I don’t always understand why things happen the way they do, but I trust God knows exactly what He is doing!
I recently watched as my small community was struck by a very sudden and powerful EF-3 tornado. It was in the middle of the day with no other storm cells anywhere in the whole state of North Carolina. As the news reporters arrived on the scene, quickly I realized that my small community had some major damage. Several homes were leveled to the ground, cars were destroyed, and businesses with major destruction. One reporter asked a gentleman how was his family. He had three family homes that were either destroyed or severely damaged, and he replied, “We are blessed”. I could tell the news team was shocked. That’s a pretty bold statement after you lost three-family homes in a sudden tornado. He said, “We are blessed because we are all alive and safe.”
Friends, we aren’t promised tomorrow. We aren’t promised that we won’t die of cancer or a heart attack way before our 95th birthday. We aren’t promised that a tragedy won’t happen tomorrow or 10 years from now. We are promised forgiveness of our sins when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. When we abide in Christ, His blood remains a constant in our minds. Reminding us that our joy and hope are found in Him alone. The external circumstances of this world are only temporary. When sorrow like sea billows roll, it will be well with our soul. That is the applied blood of Christ. No need to plead it.