You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and 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)
Did you know that blood can talk? In fact, it can cry. At least figuratively.
It is Abel’s blood that speaks first. The son of Adam and Eve, he has been murdered by his own brother, Cain. When God speaks to Cain and says,
The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. (Genesis 4:10–11)
Abel’s spilled blood, God says, cries out from the ground. The spilled blood calls for justice, for a curse on the sinner who has caused this crime, for the life of one who has taken a life. Such unrighteously spilled blood demands righteous judgment. It cries out for Cain’s condemnation.
But this is not the only cry that spilled blood can utter. There is blood that speaks another word, according to Hebrews 12:24. Jesus’s blood “speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” While Abel’s blood cried for justice, for the sinner’s condemnation, Jesus’s blood cries for mercy and for vindication. Abel’s blood summons the curse; Jesus’s blood pleas for the rescue.
What The Blood Cries For Us
We all are sons of Abel’s father, Adam. Like him, we have sinned (Romans 3:23). The voice of justice cries for our condemnation. All of us.
But when we are united to Jesus by faith, his voice speaks a better and louder word. The voice of mercy supersedes and drowns out the voice of judgment. Because his blood was spilled in our place, shed for our judgment. The just cry of Abel’s blood hasn’t been ignored, but satisfied by the death of Jesus, symbolized by his spilled blood.
Abel’s blood cries,
Justice, justice, justice for the sinner.
But Jesus’s blood cries,
Mercy, mercy, mercy for the otherwise condemned.
This is what it sounds like when the Blood cries.
No Blood Like Jesus’
And not only does it cry; it washes. And it makes us whole. It pardons. It cleanses. It atones for sin. It is our hope and peace and righteousness. It is by this blood that we overcome, and by this blood that we make it home.
It’s not that it’s magical that this blood cries and washes and pardons and gives us power to overcome. It’s what this spilled blood represents — it’s the person from whom it flows, whose life was violently and sacrificially ended for us.
The power and pardon and peace are in Jesus. He is the one who shed his own blood, so that by his death we might live, and share in his resurrection life. And so we sing,
Oh! precious is the flow. That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.