“Engraftment of the Sacred” – Prof. Todd Wold

September 04, 2017

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

When my son Ethan was admitted to the hospital in the Fall of 2015 to begin preparation for a bone marrow transplant, I was prompted to share communion with him. He was being treated for life-threatening bone marrow failure, likely caused by cancer treatment a few years before.

As I broke bread and shared the cup, I recited the words from Luke as I’ve heard them said so often. Yet, never before had they meant to me what they did at that moment.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you….’” - Luke 22:19

In a bone marrow transplant, the donor’s stem cells are multipotent, meaning they can differentiate into specialized cells with specific functions. Those cells, almost providentially, find their way to the core of the recipient’s bones, where they engraft and begin to divide to form more blood-forming stem cells, or mature into one of three types of blood cells. The process, while aided by medical science, is a divine miracle of human biology.

“He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’” - Luke 22: 20

As I learned more about the transplant process, it didn’t take much of a leap to draw a parallel with the work of Christ. Jesus is the donor, and His regenerative stem cells, once placed inside, engraft and grow new spiritual life within.

Perhaps even more stunning and symbolic about the culmination of the bone marrow transplant process, the recipient’s blood DNA and type changes to that of the donor. Everything else remains the recipient’s unique DNA: muscles, skin, heart, brain and every other organ and tissue. It’s the blood that changes, producing new life from the growing donor marrow.

“…the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” - Ephesians 1:23

God became incarnate in human flesh through Jesus but in order to become incarnate in our lives, Jesus had to donate His body and blood, broken and shed for us. In a very real sense, He became our bone marrow donor: His DNA engrafted within us—His cellularity filling in our emptiness and death in every way—healing our inability to get new life on our own.

 CORNERSTONE:  Scripture

- Prof. Todd Wold, Assistant Professor of Communications

Previous Devotions