The Blood

Day 46

Prayer for the day

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.

Scripture for the day

Leviticus 17-18, Matthew 27:27-50

Blood. It must seem a grim thing to people that God has so much to say about blood. We talk about blood. We sing about blood. We even drink (depending on your tradition) something that symbolizes blood or something that becomes blood.

With all this talk of blood, you would think it was important. And you’d be right.

In Leviticus, God is careful to command the Israelites not to eat blood. The rationale given is not that it’s gross, or even that it’s something the nations surrounding them do (although from context it seems that’s the truth)…the reason given is that the life of the creature (any creature) resides in its blood.

Blood, in the First Testament is literally and figuratively the life of the creature. Ingesting this life would be abominable. It messes with the order of creation, with the way God created people. The blood is given to the people not for ingestion but in order to take the guilt of the sinner in the community. The blood in this scenario acts as a vehicle for the transmission of sin from one person to the animal.

In the Second Testament, the blood continues to represent the life of the creature that takes the sin of the sinner. This blood is not, however, the blood of an animal, but the blood of God. And this blood does indeed take the sin of the sinner. Unlike the blood of the First Testament, however, this is blood that is to be eaten. It is in eating the blood that’s spilled by Jesus that we participate in the death of Jesus and celebrate the new life we find in him.

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