Friday, February 14, 2014

A Bloody Mess

...for the blood is the life.... -Deuteronomy 12:23b

One of the images that remains from The Passion of the Christ occurs after the flogging scene, when Jesus' mother is attempting to wipe up the copious amounts of  her Son's blood from the stone pavement. I remember thinking, "How could that much blood be in a human body?"

 I have been reading in the book of Leviticus the repeated, extremely detailed descriptions of sacrificial procedure. Each time I read this portion of the Bible, I am staggered by thoughts of the oceans of blood spilled as the animal sacrifices were slaughtered and their blood poured out against the sides and base of the altar.

If all Scripture is intended for our use (2 Timothy 3:16), what are we to make of this? My friend, Camille Kendall. has expressed her thoughts here:

It also occurs that in Christ, the ultimate sacrifice, all this is brought to culmination. But why sacrifice? Why all the blood?

 I read "you shall surely die (Genesis 2:17)," and "the blood is the life (Deuteronomy 12:23)," and make the connection. In one sense Adam and Eve really did die on the day they sinned against God by rebelling against his command. And every person born since then has been born dead.

Blood was required of the Old Testament community of faith for atonement for sins. They were reminded (as Camille noted in her blog) of the price of their guilt, as the priests literally waded in blood so that God's wrath might be turned away from the camp of Israel.

The Crucifixion should be no less a reminder to us. Blood was shed for my sins. Perhaps every drop of blood in my Savior's body was poured out.

Atonement. That my sin is so awful, such an affront to a holy God that only the death of the perfect Son of God (the god-man) could ever deliver me from the just and righteous sentence of death pronounced upon all rebels against the King of Heaven.

As if this affront to God were not enough, we are called daily to observe the effects of our sins: the painful, awful mess we make of our lives and the lives of others.

I cry out, "What must I do to be saved?"

Simply believe that what must be done has already been done.

The book of Leviticus helps remind me of this, in its bloody foreshadowings of Calvary.

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