“Then the passengers began to yell in prayer with the shout of ‘Blood of Jesus’ renting the air. Almost everybody turned emergency prayer warriors, with a rush of Pentecostal supplication” (“….How I survived the Air Mishap” In http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=171417, Published on April 20, 2010).
According to Thisday (Nigerian) Newspaper of today April 20, 2010, the above statement summarizes the experience of the passengers on board the flight (9J 995) of Dana Air service when faced face-to-face with death yesterday April 19, 2010, as a result of a “bird strike”. This according to the pilot means that “a bird had flown into the engine compartment, and damaged some parts of the aircraft” (Thisday Newspaper). The incident occurred at around 9 am (Nigerian time) while the plane was departing MM International Airport Lagos for NA International Airport Abuja. According to this source, the mishap happened shortly after the aircraft had taken off and there were 97 passengers and crew on board. But, it is now a moment of thanksgiving again for Nigerians that through the help of God Almighty and the braveness of the Pilot, no life was lost in the mishap. Following the recent plane crash in Russia involving the President of Poland and his wife as well as many top government functionaries of the country, and the latest Volcano experience in Iceland; the world could not afford to lose another 98 people again from Nigeria. While we mourn with the government and people of Poland and the world, for the unquantifiable loss that the Iceland Volcano has brought; we should on the one hand, thank God for saving the lives of these Nigerians.
However, there is a lesson to be drawn from this experience by all Christians. While we identify with the ugly condition which the Christians on board flight was faced with, being faced face to-face; is shouting the blood of Jesus the proper and shortest prayer in such a situation? Is there any where in the Bible where Christian are enjoyed to pray in and with the blood of Jesus? This has become a common error in our prayers today especially in our African Christianity. While I am not in the position to confirm if situation is the same on the entire continent of Africa; I had on several occasions personally witnessed this in Nigeria, where I having been working as a pastor in last couple years and in Nairobi, Kenya where I now live as a student. It is not uncommon nowadays to hear Christians say: I/we plead the blood of Jesus; I/we cover you, myself, my family, my house, my car, this place, or that place etc, etc with the blood of Jesus. Unfortunately most times, even church leaders are guilty of this modern-day heresy. I believe this issue is gradually manifesting itself in several ways in our worship today. This is commonly seen during prayer sessions where Christians gather to pray. Once, the prayer leader says, “I plead the blood of Jesus,” you will hear the congregation chorus loudly, repeatedly and with high emotions, “the bloooooooooooooood of Jesus!”
Personally, this issue and many alike are indication of how most Christians in Africa still suffer from biblical illiteracy. I wonder where people got this doctrine from! Sadly and gradually, Christians are now using the blood of Jesus to replace the name of Jesus even in prayers. Ignorantly, the church is passing this “doctrine” to the younger generation of Christians as well as misleading inexperienced and weak brethren. I believe the way Christians now use the blood of Jesus like talisman may not unconnected with what blood means to us as Africans. This experience is perhaps what we are importing into our worship of God today. This is not to say in any way that the African cultures, traditions and values are bad but that the African worldview in this instance should not be allowed to replace the biblical position on the matter. In the next post we shall look at the relationship between the blood of Jesus and our African background. Subsequently, we shall take time to look at the meaning and the significance of the ‘blood of Jesus’ from biblical and theological perspectives. Finally, we shall look at the name of Jesus as the ONLY name with which Christians could reach God in prayer.
As usual, you are welcome to follow on in this journey and your comments, questions and critiques are most welcomed.
The photo inserted is culled from:http://airlinersgallery.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/air-france-a330-200-f-gzcp-75apr-dxb-pdnlr.jpg
Thisday (Nigerian) Newspaper (http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=171417), Published on April 20, 2010.
Thisday (Nigerian) Newspaper (http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=171419) Published on April 20, 2010.