Rev. Langerak is pastor of the Southeast Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Blood is an amazing fluid. Blood is the life of all flesh (Gen. 9:4). From one blood, God made all nations on the earth (Acts 17:26). The blood of grapes is life-giving juice (Gen. 49:11). Taken by faith, the blood of the New Testament grape enlivens the weak and sickly (I Cor. 11:30). Since blood is the life of animals, it could not be eaten with their flesh; God gave it as an atonement for souls (Lev. 17:11-14). The old covenant blood purged almost all things: It was splashed on door-frames, sprinkled on the altar, law, instruments of worship, ears and garments of priests, and on men, women, and their children (Heb. 9:19-21). Yet, this blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin (Heb. 10:4). The Lamb’s blood must be sprinkled (I Pet. 1:2). We must have faith in that blood (Rom. 3:25). And when we eat His flesh, we must also drink His blood (John 6:55), so His life dwells in us and we in Him (John 6:56).
Rightly we associate murder with blood. But all sin against our neighbor sheds blood; not only by killing, but by swearing, lying, stealing, and adultery, blood touches blood (Hos. 4:2). The sinner has blood in his mouth (Zech. 9:7), is polluted with blood (Hos. 6:8), is a bloody man (Ps. 59:2), lies in wait for blood (Prov. 12:6), and builds with blood (Hab. 2:12). David, guilty of adultery and murder, rightly cried out to be delivered from blood-guiltiness (Ps. 51:14). He knew blood is an infallible and everlasting witness to sin. It cries out with a loud voice that reverberates in God’s ears from the ground where it is spilled (Gen. 4:10). It leaves an indelible stain. Long after their murder, God still saw the blood of Naboth (II Kings 9:26), Abner and Amasa (I Kings 2:5-31), the Gibeonites (II Sam. 21:1), the prophets slain by Jezebel (II Kings 9:7), and the blood of every saint from the A in Abel to the Z in Zacharias (Luke 11:51), which is precious in His sight (Ps. 72:14). The blood-stain of the murdered promptly transfers to the head of the murderer (II Sam. 1:16), to his hands (Gen. 4:10; Isa. 59:3), and to the congregation that tolerates him (Deut. 19:13). For his part in killing Jesus, Judas was buried in the field of blood (Acts 1:19). While Pilate vainly tried to wash away Jesus’ blood, the multitude gladly said, “Let it be on us and our children” (Matt. 27:24-25). It was theirs anyway, because all who reject Jesus are guilty of His blood (I Cor. 11:27; Acts 18:6) and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing (Heb 10:29).
God avenges all shedding of innocent blood, either by man or by beast (Gen. 9:5). It is one of six abominations before Him (Prov. 6:16-17). He pleads against the wicked with blood, makes blood pursue them, waters their land with blood, and sends blood into their streets (Ezek. 28:23, 32:6, 35:6, 38:22). When Christ returns, it will be a day of bloody vengeance. Announcing His return, the seas and the moon will become as blood (Rev. 6:12, 16:3). He will make the wicked drink waters of blood for the blood they shed (Rev. 16:6). His clothes will be spattered with blood (Rev. 19:13; Is. 63:3) as He treads the winepress of the earth wherein is found the blood of the prophets and saints (Rev. 14:20, 18:24) who cry out from heaven, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:10).
But the saints are saved by His blood. Inasmuch as we are flesh and blood, Jesus took part of the same (Heb. 2:14). But since flesh and blood cannot inherit His kingdom, those given to Him are born not of blood, the will of the flesh, or of man, but of God (John 1:13). For them, Christ drained His life-blood. It dripped from His head (Luke 22:44) and came from His side (John 19:34). His blood is most precious (I Pet. 1:19). His blood justifies (Rom. 5:9), sanctifies (Heb. 13:12), purchases (Acts 20:28), cleanses from all sin (I John 1:7), obtains eternal redemption and forgiveness (Col. 1:14; Eph. 1:7), brings us nigh (Eph. 2:13), allows us to enter into the holiest place (Heb. 10:19), purges our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Heb. 9:14), reconciles all things in heaven and earth to God (Col. 1:20), gives eternal life (John 6:54), and makes our robes white when washed therein (Rev. 7:14). Let us sing a new song to God for Jesus, who by His blood has done all this for us—a people otherwise stained head to toe with blood—and redeemed us to God out of every kindred, tongue, and nation (Rev. 5:9).