The River Styx Versus the Blood of the Lamb

Styx, for many people, are a 70’s and 80’s rock band from Chicago, but in Greek mythology, she was an ancient goddess who aided Zeus in the war against the Titans. A particular river in the underworld (Hades and Tartarus) was so named after this goddess, and her waters were miraculous enough to make a person invulnerable. When Thetis (a nymph) bore her son Achilles, she dipped him in the waters of Styx by holding his heel. Achilles, then, was invulnerable and as written about in Homer’s Iliad, he was the greatest of warriors.

Thetis Immerses Son Achilles in Water of River Styx

The exploits of Achilles in the Trojan War include the shedding of much blood, but when Agamemnon took his concubine, Achilles sat out the war until his close friend, Patroclus was slain by Hector of Troy while posing as the great warrior in battle by wearing his armor. The wrath of Achilles was aroused, and he set out to avenge, nay, revenge Patroclus by slaying Hector. Achilles did just that, and in what was supposed to be a mutually observed period of mourning by the Greeks and Trojans, the temptation of battle reared thus spurning the Myrmidon king into action.

During his attack on Troy, Paris shot an arrow at Achilles. It landed in, of all places, the heel by which his mother held him when she dipped him in the River Styx. Because Thetis held Achilles by the heel, it was an unprotected area and would become where he would suffer his death blow. As a result, the phrase “Achilles’ heel” has become familiar nomenclature for the weakness in a person who otherwise seems invincible.

The one weakness of a Greek hero led to his demise, but for a Christian bathed in the blood of the Lamb, there is protection not from mortal demise, but eternal condemnation. The protection Christ offers is available to everyone. God becomes, then, Abba, Father to we who are so bathed in the blood. Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?