“Why so much blood, God?” I questioned this morning. One-thousand bulls, seven-thousand sheep, sacrificed and splattered across the altar of the Lord. I just don’t get it. And when all was burnt up, they sang for days, bursting with joy and gladness.
The image of it all makes me cringe. The killing of innocent animals, their blood smeared everywhere. How can this be a scene of celebration? It sounds more like a horror movie than a love story.
Then it hit me. The horror of sin. It’s utter carelessness, cruelty, destruction seeping into everyday actions like it’s no big thing. We’re not so easy on anything like we are on our own sin. We make light of it, ignore it, subscribe to it, open the door for it in moments of suffering and pain. We easily forget, sin steals. Sin kills.
“I have come that they may have life,” said the last Sacrifice.
Death is not the end—it’s a beginning. When Jerusalem witnessed this gruesome sight, they felt the depth of their rebellion. And when the sacrifice went up in smoke, they realized for the first time, they could be healed, whole, and clean.
“Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22) In other words, without just punishment, our conscience would never be clean. No amount of good behavior, hard work, or generosity puts away the shame running through our veins.
Happiness and heaven are merely an illusion for those with no need for forgiveness. But a broken and contrite heart understands its reason for singing in every circumstance. We’ve felt the darkness within us, witnessed the horror we’ve been saved from. The sacrificial love of Christ has captured us.
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)