by Richard Mansel
When Jesus was on the cross, the Sabbath Day was approaching and the Roman soldiers were unable to leave prisoners on the cross. Therefore, they came to break the legs of the criminals so their deaths would be expedited. When they came to Jesus, he was already dead. “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out” (John 19:34, NKJV).
Blood and water have an interesting relationship in Scripture. This study can yield a deeper appreciation of the inspiration of Scripture and of salvation. They can also enrich our understanding of how the blood of Christ and the new birth occur (John 3:3-5). God’s Word is an endless well of knowledge sufficient for a lifetime of study.
Moses said, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Atonement means making amends for a wrong committed. Blood was part of God’s plan for dealing with the sins of men. And God’s plan is consistent in both covenants.
In Exodus 24, sacrifices were offered before the Lord. Moses read the Book of the Covenant to the people and they committed to be faithful to God. And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words” (Exodus 24:8). Through the blood, God made a covenant with the people of physical Israel to be their God and remain faithful to them, if they would do the same.
In the first covenant, the Law of Moses, the blood of bulls and goats was offered for sins but now in the second covenant, God has a better way (Hebrews 8:6). Jesus’ blood was offered for the sins of men (Hebrews 9:12-14). Jesus, who was without sin, (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21) was offered before God as the sacrifice to make men justified.
Christ’s blood, though, only had to be offered once. “But this Man, after He has offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). The greatness of God’s plan would cover all the men who ever lived and were willing to be the disciples of his Son (Ephesians 2:11-18).
The first covenant was made before the Lord that they would be faithful to God for the remainder of their days. Likewise, the second covenant expects the same level of faithfulness (Revelation 2:10).
When the physical nation of Israel abandoned God by committing spiritual adultery (Ezekiel 16:23-30), their unfaithfulness led them to captivity and death. When the spiritual nation of Israel commits spiritual adultery by being unfaithful to God, they will also find death and enslavement to Satan (Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:26-29). Either way, the shed blood was counted as useless by the people of God.
Imagine Jesus shedding his blood and dying for us. We are there looking at his face marred by terrible violence. In his bloody pain, he struggles against the tearing flesh for the smallest breath. As he slowly suffocates, we look in his eyes, deep into his soul, and say, “Sorry, it wasn’t good enough.” Would we count his sacrifice as a complete waste of time? Can we imagine? Christ can (Matthew 7:13).