Martina Jonker and her husband farmed in the district of Lichtenburg. One of their sons was born on the farm on 1 March 1929. It was a long, dangerous and painful process. Her husband, Willie, comforted her and pleaded with her not to despair, because, he said: “Perhaps it is to be a little preacher”. Later she taught their little boy to pray. The “prayer” was a verse from their Dutch Bible: “Het bloed van Jesus Christus, zijn Zoon, reinigt ons van alle zonden” (1 John 1:7). Even before he started to attend school his mother would ask him every morning: “Have you said the blood?” If he had not done so yet he had to kneel at his bedside to say it.
“The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us of all sin” is a wonderful “prayer”; actually an inspiring confession. The entire Biblical message of salvation is contained therein – a wonderful gift from God. The “prayer” tells us of God’s love for us which He revealed by sending his Son to suffer in our place. For our sin his blood was shed. Love is an essential characteristic of God: Not only does God love; the Bible says God is love (1 John 4:8 and 4:16). The “prayer” tells us that God is the God of peace because through the blood of Jesus, God reconciled us to Himself so that there may be peace between God and us. Peace is also an essential characteristic of God. Jesus is our peace: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (Eph. 2:13, 14). The “prayer” also teaches us about the mercy of God. It is through God’s grace that we may experience God’s love and peace. We are redeemed by God’s grace alone. When we turn to God in dependence on Him, He adopts us as his children without any achievement from our side. By grace He cleanses us of sin through the blood of Jesus: God […] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved (Eph. 2:5). Not only is God merciful, He is the God of all grace: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1Peter 5:10).
The little boy who had to pray “the blood” each day was Prof. Willie Jonker. He became a beloved parson, a sought-after preacher and a well-known theologian. He writes of his childhood prayer: “Only years later I realised that she (his mother) thereby taught me that in prayer it is more important to hold onto the promises of God than to appear before Him with many desires”.
Willie Jonker also wrote: “It is a wonderful discovery when, one day, one realises that one’s entire salvation is due to grace alone. What a joy it is, what an overwhelming joy, to know: God doesn’t look at me as the person that I really am; He doesn’t hold against me that which I have done or have failed to do; neither does He hold me responsible for the utter darkness of my sinful self and its consequences, because He covers it with his grace, He wipes it out, He shall never think about it anymore.”
Lord Jesus, thank you that we may always hold onto the promise: “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us of all sin”. Amen