“The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22
As a boy of ten years, I kept a scrapbook filled with images of lions and tigers hunting. Many of them depicted gory kills. Several decades later, I can still picture the blood covered faces of those vicious beasts. One day my mom happened upon the bloody pictures I’d been saving. Understandably, she became concerned that I might be turning into some sort of twisted, sadistic kid. Blood has a tendency to make us recoil in horror. But my fascination had to do with a compulsion to understand death.
Many old Christian hymns include references to the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. Here’s one example—an old favorite performed by some promising musicians. “Nothing But The Blood”
It’s the blood of Christ which cleanses us from our sins. What picture could better display the awful consequences of sin upon the world than grisly blood? God has a good reason for the use of blood in the bible. The blood used in the old sacrificial system of temple worship was a foreshadow of the blood of Christ. Justice demands blood.
When Adam and Eve sinned, it drastically changed mankind—even the earth was changed by a curse. The consequences of sin are exceptionally horrific. “For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23a
And, God says that life is in the blood. “For the life of a creature is in the blood…” Leviticus 17:11a
And so, spilled blood is synonymous with death—and death is the penalty for sin.
As a lasting and stark expression of sin’s staggering cost, God clothed Adam and Eve with dead animal skins. This signified the horrors that the world would experience as a result of sin. Sin brought with it; sickness, war, a curse, slavery to sin, and death for every person since Adam and Eve. Some of the animals changed from herbivores into carnivorous creatures—the images of which I kept in that childhood scrapbook.
God has taught me that I should be aghast and horrified at the prospect of sin. It should make me shudder in horror—the same response one would have to a bloody, gruesome death.
But it’s in man’s fallen nature to trivialize sin, rather than to acknowledge its true devastating make-up.
Because of God’s awesome love for you and me, Jesus allowed His own blood to be spilled, taking that awful death penalty in our place. “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord,“ (from John 10). The macabre sight of His blood flowing down to puddle in the dust, proclaims God’s monolithic love for you and me. Do you see the importance of the blood? If not, you do not yet understand the way of salvation that God has provided for us. His blood equals love, atonement, propitiation, forgiveness and salvation.
Bloody gore and love intersect at the Cross of Jesus. ©
Below is Alan Jackson singing Are You Washed