Summary: All humanity shares blood, but only the blood of Jesus has the power to save
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ Amen.
All human beings share one common characteristic: blood. The book of Leviticus tells us that blood is the life or life force of the flesh. It flows through our bodies in order to deliver oxygen and other important nutrients, and it also removes from our bodies toxins and dangerous substances such as carbon dioxide which would suffocate us if we had too much.
Blood is not only a necessary substance in our bodies, but blood is also a binding force, linking people into families, clans, and even nations. As children, the ritual handshake of blood was something that I would guess many of us did, which afforded us a name like “blood brother”. Even my best friend and I pierced our palms and shook hands in order to seal our brotherhood…in blood.
But blood isn’t just something used within us or between us, but it is also used as a cleansing liquid. In the Old Testament, blood was sprinkled upon the various vessels and appointments which were used for sacred rites and in worship. The Tent of Meeting was sprinkled with blood before the priests would enter to offer sacrifice and prayer. When God established the priesthood and ordained Aaron and his brothers as the first priests, they were sprinkled with the blood of a spotless ram, along with his brothers. This blood marked them as priests of God’s people, as mediators between God and man.
In fact, as we read in Hebrews chapter 9, there can be no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood.
And by the shedding of blood, let us not assume that it means a pin prick or a shaving accident, no. For in every case in Scripture where forgiveness of sins is tied to bloodshed, it also means the death of the one shedding the blood, be it an animal such as a goat or a lamb, or a human being such as Jesus Christ. Now some might ask, “Does God find delight in the shedding of blood? I mean after all, could God not have accomplished for the Jews a different method or means to bring about His redemption which didn’t involve bloodshed and death?”
First let us be clear: God does not desire the death of anyone; God takes no joy in torture, in slaughter, in death. God did not introduce death and bloodshed into the world, and if we look to Scripture, the Word of God, we read this: “by the envy of the devil death came into the world.” We also read, “For God did not make death, neither has He pleasure in the destruction of the living. For He created all things that they might exist.” In other words, God created because He is a God who creates – it is His nature if you will – it is His core, His essence to be Creator and not destroyer.
And so God gave blood as a gift, that all who possess it live in His creative and good presence. The psalmist writes, “For wrath is in His indignation, and life is His will,” in other words, it is displeasing and disheartening for God to bring punishment. Every spotless lamb that died and gave its live blood was not a pleasing thing to God, especially since the people’s faith was so far from the promises. Blood was never intended to be shed, to be spilled, but because of the horrible and devastating power of sin, death had to be, because the wages of sin IS death.
Death is not God’s work, but it is the devil’s work. If it were God’s work He would not destroy death; it would not be swallowed up in victory, in life. The shedding of blood is not God’s desire, or He would have not have ended it. If God desired the shedding of blood, would not the animals still be slaughtered upon this altar today, and upon altars throughout the world?
But God finds no joy in such things. He finds no joy in bloodshed, in violence, in destruction. One may ask, “Why then does He allow people to die of starvation, disease, acts of violence, or neglect? Why does He allow the unborn to continue to be slaughtered?” These are hard questions that I simply cannot answer. All I can tell you is that it is not God’s desire that these things should happen, because God does not desire the death of anyone. He does not desire the shedding of blood, but He desires life.
Life pleases God, death and bloodshed does not. But without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness, why? Because the wages of sin, the wages of YOUR sin and my sin, the wages of our lies, the wages of our greed, of our unwillingness to love and care and show compassion for the lost, to step outside of ourselves and what makes us comfortable, what is easy, what is customary, what is acceptable, to trust in God and lean not on our own understanding but our own feelings and our own emotions…the wages of all this and more is DEATH. And thus blood must be shed.