Summary: The Lord's Supper is the bloodbath of God. For we have the sure Word from the Son of God: “This is My blood shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
“Bloodbath” is not a word that brings pleasant images to mind. If you were to pull some books off the library shelf, you’d find descriptions like these for the word “bloodbath”:
Yes, it was a bloodbath, yes it was annihilation of all the inhabitants, yes it was cruel and not at all holy. (In Lieu of Heaven by Kevin Archer)
What occurred was a bloodbath that “bordered on sadism” as bodies piled up on the street. (Violent Crime in North America by Louis A. Knafla)
“Bloodbath” is not a pleasant word. But tonight we hear about a different bloodbath. Tonight, Isaiah tells us of a good bloodbath, God’s bloodbath for us and for our salvation. In the sermon text, Isaiah foretells of Jesus who “will sprinkle many nations” with His blood.
For sin is such an offense and an affront to a holy and righteous God that blood must be spilt for sins to be forgiven. Someone or something sinless or spotless must die for you to be forgiven. God mandates that blood be shed, a bathing of blood to wash away your sins. The writer to the Hebrews tells it like it is: “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).
In the Old Testament, God mandated many types of animal sacrifices. Through such shedding of blood, through such bloodbaths, God forgave the Old Testament believers. When clean, unblemished animals were sacrificed and their blood was shed as God had directed, He forgave the sins of the people (Leviticus 1-7).
Sometimes, the animals sacrificed were many, thousands. When Solomon dedicated the Temple, the blood flowed from tens of thousands of sheep, goats, and cattle. During the Old Testament Passover ceremony, the priests would form bucket brigades at the Temple, pouring out the blood from the thousands of sacrificed lambs. Young boys would often line up at the Kidron Brook to be the first to see the water turn pink from the outpouring of blood from the Temple mount.
These bloodbaths were part of God’s old covenant with His people Israel. God worked though these sacrifices, through which He promised to be present, granting forgiveness at His temple. The Old Testament people of Israel lived and breathed in these blood-spilled events, events that anticipated and pointed forward to Christ’s spilling of blood for us.
When God set up His first covenant with Israel, He told Moses to sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed animals on the people. The blood was called “the blood of the covenant” (Exodus 24:8). When the priest sprinkled the blood on the Israelites of old, they entered the covenant with God. They were heirs of God’s covenant promises of forgiveness, blessing, and eternal life. As the blood was sprinkled on them, God graced His believers with forgiveness, the forgiveness of Jesus’ sacrifice that would even work its way backward through time to save the Old Testament believers (Hebrews 9:15). Isaiah spoke of this, about what Jesus would do in the new covenant, that He would “sprinkle many nations.”