Better Blood-speak

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. – Genesis 4:8-10

Tractor Seat | Kleb Woods | February 2021

How are you with blood? Does it gross you out? Do you watch when they poke your arm as you give blood? Or do you cringe and close your eyes as they draw blood for medical tests? Some people are very squeamish around even the thought of blood. Others take it in stride. 

We have here the first mention of blood in the Bible. God hears the voice of Abel’s blood as it cries to God from the ground. The ground has opened up to receive Abel’s blood from the hand of Cain. Justice, retribution, and lament rise from this silent witness of evil’s doing. The writer of the book of Hebrews speaks of it this way:

You have come to…Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:22, 24). 

Charles Spurgeon, the noted 19th century British preacher and evangelist, speaks of how Jesus’ blood is better than Abel’s, and identifies how this is so in four ways:

  1. In the first place, JESUS BLOOD SPEAKS BETTER THINGS IN GENERAL.
  2. Now we will enter the very heart of our text, while we remember that THE BLOOD OF JESUS SPEAKS BETTER THINGS TO GOD than the blood of Abel did. 
  3. Furthermore, JESUS BLOOD SPEAKS BETTER THINGS TO US IN OUR OWN HEARTS than the blood of Abel.
  4. Two or three words to close with. JESUS BLOOD, EVEN IN MY TEXT, SPEAKS BETTER THINGS THAN THAT OF ABEL.

He develops each thought in the prosaic speech common to that era, and makes clear that the blood of Abel had some impact, and that its speech was a cry of and for righteous. But the blood of Jesus answers that cry and provides a righteousness that Abel called for. 

This should certainly ring true in our hearts. My heart is broken over those who refuse and reject the idea of Jesus shedding his blood for me and for them. It is sad beyond measure that Jesus’ blood would be spilt and that anyone would despise that precious life-giving blood. It is sad that people I know reject out of hand the idea of God’s existence. Thus, this witness of Jesus’ blood is of no meaning to them – or so they think. But my heart delights in the message of Jesus’ blood: Shed for us all for the remission of sins. 

Not only so, but Jesus’ blood speaks to God himself, and offers to God an atonement that balances the scales for all time and for all people. Jesus didn’t only live in a way that his good outweighed his bad. Nor did he merely never sin. He never did sin, and then willingly went to the cross to die for our sins. His blood speaks peace to God, justice and righteousness are established because Jesus was willing to die for us. And Jesus kept perfect faith in God during it all. 

That is most remarkable to me: Jesus kept the faith even as he was forsaken by his Father in heaven. This speaks volumes to God. Abraham, the father of faith, believed in God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Jesus – who needed no reckoning, for he was purely and perfectly righteous from the core of his being – believed in God in the face of injustice and abandonment. His perfect faith, life and sacrifice reckons us righteous. Jesus’ blood speaks peace between God and man. Jesus’ blood speaks mercy to God. Jesus’ blood speaks perfect holiness. This speaks to me deeply. And I want to listen carefully to what he says in every aspect of his life and teaching.

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Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. – Genesis 4:8-16

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