In recent days I’ve been thinking lots on blood – the oxygen-carriage method in the stupendous, miraculous, circulatory system is a fearful wonder of the Creator.
I could write for hours on platelets – those little, sticky, microscopic, discs that plug holes in veins so that we don’t bleed to death from knife-cuts or pin-pricks.
Alternatively, thirteen biochemical factors which contribute to the cascade of clot-formation would have me wax lyrical before I arrived at the Compliment system.
Again, the breathless brilliance of plasma, and an immunological system of hungry phagocytes, antibody-factory lymphocytes, not to mention killer-T cells of infinite complexity, all serve to expose “by chance” thinking as naïve, ignorant, ridiculous, hollow, insubstantial and blind.
My focus, however, has been on the humble Red Blood Cells: that component of the vascular system, designed by God for the function of gas-exchange. these streamline, biconcave, discs, with maximum surface-to-volume ratio, are packed with iron-bearing proteins otherwise known as oxygen-loaded hemoglobin (if I have oversimplified things too much please accept my apologies in advance).
Yet, not even this made me stand back and sit up this week: rather, it is the related issue of surface molecules on Red Blood Cells – called Antigens – which determine Red Cell Blood Groups.
The basic system of Blood Groups is divided into 4 (omitting the Rhesus Factor): Group A has Antigen A, Group B has Antigen B, Group AB has both Antigens A and B, and, last of all, the most common Blood Group O, has no Antigens at all – an amazing fact, and a genius stroke, of our Creator Christ (as we shall shortly see).
Again, at the risk of being overly simplistic, it is this very system which means that, if blood types are mixed when transfused into a patient, an antibody reaction is s-sparked – it usually has catastrophic effects: transfused red cells dissolve, chemicals are released, blood pressure drops and kidneys pack up, with the usual outcome death. That is why, usually, prior to transfusion, the safest approach is for Blood Types to be (mandatorily) both Grouped and Cross-Matched.
If Grouping and Cross-Matching is the gold-standard and ideal, it is not just so straightforward, or even possible, when a serious trauma (or some other major, rapid, bleeding problem) occurs – in such circumstances medics have only a few minutes to decide whether or not to immediately transfuse blood that a life might be saved. There is no time to Group and Cross-Match! Blood must be given at once to prevent death!
If there were no Blood Group O without any surface Antigens, transfusion would be almost always unsafe and in most cases fatal from accidental mismatch. Further, if Blood Group O was not the commonest type, the supply of potential donors would very soon run out. The astounding fact is that the commonly available Blood Group O can be given to almost anyone with confidence of safety. This Blood Group O is called the UNIVERSAL DONOR.
And yet…. while I take some delight in the Glory of the Gory in the Grouping of Blood, it is nothing when compared to the Glory of Christ’s blood:
Without the shedding of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the chosen, appointed, and excellent Only Mediator of God’s Elect our hopeless state, as sinners, would be forever fatal: without His death, there is no remission of sin, access to God’s presence, acceptance of the sinner or the hope of eternal life: all these are sealed to and secured for believers by the Blood of the New Covenant at His Cross. He is The Substitute, cursed and stripped, naked and pierced, sacrificed in our place, who bore God’s wrath for us. Blessed be His Name – there is infinitely greater glory in the gory of Golgotha!
There is only one Blood Type by which deserving, hell-bound, sinners enter the glorious life of Fellowship with the Triune God in Heaven – that of the precious, universal donor, Jesus, who, by the Father’s gift, laid down His life in love, for all God’s chosen, believing, penitent, sheep!
Thank the LORD for the infinitely vaster, more glorious, merciful, covenantal, efficacious, wonder-working, powerful, miraculous provision of the Blood of Christ, shed for you.