April 3rd 2010

The Blood Of Sprinkling

“And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”

Hebrews 12:24 (KJV)

Most people have heard the Bible story of the two brothers, Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-15).  Cain became intensely jealous of his younger brother Abel, and allowed his jealousy to grow into a real hatred.  So much so that one day, Cain asked Abel to go for a walk with him, and once safe from view Cain struck his brother Abel to the ground and killed him.

This was the first recorded murder and the first time innocent blood had been cruelly shed. The blood of Abel cried out to God from the ground (verse 10).  His blood cried out for vengeance, and Cain became cursed as a result (verse 11). 

Today, news of atrocities and the most appalling acts of murder often involving young innocents fill our newspapers and dominate our TV news reports.  We are naturally outraged when we hear of such accounts of innocent lives being brutally taken and the guilty often escaping justice.  The outrage we express is just like the cry that went up to God from the blood of Abel as it was spilled on the ground.

The blood of Jesus speaks to us too.  But the writer of the book of Hebrews informs us that the blood of Jesus “speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24).  The blood of Jesus speaks of forgiveness, not vengeance.  It is an invitation to life, not a sentence of death.  This doesn’t mean however, that God has disregarded the enormity of sin’s effect on the world and on individual people, or somehow ‘brushed sin under the carpet’.  The cross of Christ reveals to us how terribly seriously God takes sin. 

The sprinkling of Jesus’ blood is a proclamation, an announcement that the problem of sin has been fully and finally dealt with for us, and that not only forgiveness but also righteousness is offered to the sinner who receives Jesus’ sacrifice, and accepts his invitation to life.  “Even the righteousness of God,” Paul says, “which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:22-23). 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have sent your Son into our fractured world to partake of our feeble humanity and to suffer and die for us that we might find new life in him.  We pray that, instead of seeking vengeance, we might focus our minds on the healing power of the Cross of Christ and on his saving grace.

Amen 

Study by Richard Dempsey 

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