By Scott Franks
In Hebrews 11, Abel was listed as one of the giants of faith because of what he gave to God. In the very next chapter, the writer again mentioned Abel, when he said that Jesus’ sprinkled blood speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
It’s a strange allegory, this idea of blood “speaking,” especially when we realize the Bible doesn’t record a single word ever spoken by Abel. All we know of him is that he gave a pleasing sacrifice to God, he was righteous, and then he was killed by his jealous brother. Yet he was silent. Only his blood spoke. It cried out against Cain; it cried out for justice.
So how does Jesus’ blood speak a better word than Abel’s? Abel’s blood spoke from the earth and cried for justice (Genesis 4:10), while Christ’s blood speaks from heaven and announces mercy for sinners. Abel’s blood made Cain feel guilty and drove him into isolation; Christ’s blood frees us from guilt and folds us into God’s family. Abel’s blood made sin glaringly obvious; Jesus’ blood makes sin disappear.
In Hebrews 12, the writer described what it was like for Moses and his people to approach God, and what it is like now that we can be made right with the blood of Christ.
The sight [of the mountain] was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:21-24).
Let these images, these promises, fill your mind as we share this communion in Christ’s body and blood.
Scott Franks preaches for the Edgemere Church of Christ (Edgemere.org) in Wichita Falls, TX. He also contributes weekly devotionals to the 728B site on Facebook.