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Saturday, October 8, 2011

When I See the Blood

In Leviticus 17 Moses gave instructions about how the children of Israel were to deal with sacrifices and blood offerings.  It also explains why they were not to consume the blood.  In verse 11 he says that life is in the blood and God has given it to you to make atonement for your sins.  They were to drain the blood and use it as the offering because the blood was the agent that gave life to an animal.  They burned the fat and ate the lean meat, but the blood was for God alone.

In Exodus 12:13 Moses told the people to take of the blood they drained from the lamb and put it on the doorposts of their homes.  God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you."

Isaiah 53:7 records that Jesus would be "led like a lamb to the slaughter."  It was not simply punishment, not just beating, not even agony on our behalf.   It was a blood sacrifice.

John 19:34 "...one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water."  (Scientists say that the manner in which Jesus died would concentrate the blood in his heart.  When the heart was perced, the total blood supply flowed out.)  Jesus was our lamb, our offering, one time.

Hebrews 13:12 states that Jesus gave his life to make believers holy through his own blood.

When I read these scriptures in sequence, it becomes obvious that God chose blood to represent life.  The life of a person or an animal is in the blood.  Making a sacrifice means that the blood which was poured out on the altar was a symbol of the life of the animal.  When the Israelites were told to use a lamb as a sacrifice. the lamb was meant to represent the sinner, to take his place.  The blood represented my life and your life.

I tried an exercise this week in which I was required to read a passage of scripture and use my name in place of the pronoun in the text.  Here is what I wrote adapted from Isaiah 53:4-6:
Surely he took up my infirmities
   and carried my sorrows,
yet I considered him stricken by God,
   smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for my transgressions,
   he was crushed for my iniquities;
the punishment that brought me peace was upon him,
   and by his wounds I am healed.
I, Gayle, am like a sheep, I have gone astray,
  I have turned to my own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   my iniquity.

The requirement for a blood sacrifice for sin is so abhorrent that we turn away in disgust.  God could just forgive us and let it pass, couldn't he?   No, this is the value he puts on our forgiveness and redemption.  We are too important to God for him to ignore our sin.  He found a way to make us right with him through his Son, through the death of his Son, through his Son's blood.

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