One of the creepiest concepts to me when I was exploring Christianity was all the talk (and all the songs) about the “Blood of the Lamb”. Ewww! Of course I had no problem watching movies about serial killers, or tv programs that showed autopsies and mangled corpses– but this death on the cross was too much. (Our culture has trained us well, hmm?)
When we really look at the blood in context, however, we actually see more of this Great Love Story, and how all of this blood points to the heart of God.
When Adam and Eve made the choice to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, blood was shed for the first time. Notice that God still loves His children, (He doesn’t slay them) but He clothes them in animal skins to cover their nakedness, and sends them away. God’s standard was made clear from the beginning: The penalty for sin is death.
Animal sacrifices to appease the gods were common to nearly every culture in the ancient world. The Jewish people also offered sacrifices to God for their sins. Yet one death, one sacrifice was never enough. Each year the ritual had to be repeated to atone for all of the wrongs committed in the previous year. No matter how “good” a person could be, there was no way to live a life free of sinful thoughts, behaviors, and resulting destruction.
In case you’re thinking God’s ways are cruel, history shows us human beings are much worse. Hammurabi’s Code, generally recognized as the earliest form of written laws, seeks an eye for an eye, and a life for a life. Today, even our entertainment shows how we have grown numb to senseless violence, and though our culture values “tolerance” as a cherished virtue, we still have a death penalty in the U.S.
From the ancient world to the present, blood is generally recognized as a life force. When it’s donated at blood banks we are “giving life”, and when it’s poured out, it signals death. However, our Heavenly Father who is Holy ( & can’t be around sin) wants each of us to join Him for Eternal Life, and so He came up with a rescue plan! Again, while we may think of it as weird, who are we to judge? We’re not God; we didn’t create the universe. I can tell you since I began walking with Him, I’ve been so grateful that He is the one in control and calling the shots!! 🙂
At what Christians call, “The Last Supper”, Jesus and His disciples were celebrating the Passover feast–commemorating when the Israelite slaves in Egypt were passed over by the angel of death, after they painted the blood of lambs over their doors. Later Jesus would be arrested, tortured, and ultimately nailed to a cross. Communion–the eating of bread (Christ’s body), and drinking from the cup (Christ’s blood)– is all about remembering the death WE deserve for our sin, and that Jesus paid the price for us with His life!
Now for me, reflecting on the crucifixion at Easter isn’t a gory exercise, nor is it about beating myself up about my failures. Our Father knows we are forgetful, and has simply given us a powerful reminder that HE LOVES US THAT MUCH!!