Reading 7.2: Leviticus 17:10-16

Jul 02, 2010

READ:  Leviticus 17:10-16

Life Blood

These six verses talk very simply about instructions that directly relate to the handling of blood.  For more than one obvious reason (least of all the mythical reason), there were no vampires amongst the Jews.  There were no ‘I don’t eat human blood just animal blood’ vampires.  The very idea of eating blood may be rather disgusting to many but God gave very specific warnings to the people that they were not to eat blood – blood of any sort.  In fact, God gave instructions almost to the point that they were supposed to respect the blood.

The reason was two fold.  First, the blood was considered to be the ‘life’.  Both verse 11 and verse 14 say exactly the same thing – life is in the blood, it is the blood that sustains life.  Therefore, to take away the blood was to take away one’s life.  Second, verse 11 says that the blood was the means of atonement before God.  Life for a life; both practically and symbolically one life (in the blood) was taken so that another life (in the soul) would be spared (vs. 11).

A price had to be paid for guilt; the price was death (at least in a spiritual and eternal sense, Gen 2:17); if the death price was paid by another then the guilt penalty had been satisfied.  Just as Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins.” The problem was that the blood of bulls and goats only cost so much – it could not pay a once-for-all complete and perfect price for the deserved penalty.  That is why Jesus came, to pay the perfect and complete, once-for-all penalty in the giving of His blood.  (Hebrews 9-10)

Now, in a Divine twist of fate (I Cor 10:16), Jesus’ blood was given so we might live; but also, Jesus’ blood is symbolically eaten through the process of the Communion service.  As we are told by Jesus Himself (Luke 22:20), the blood reminds us of the New Covenant, the New Life, that we have in Jesus.  Life for a Life!  At Communion we drink the blood and it reminds us of the life that we are receiving in ourselves, a New Life through a New Covenant.  Now we drink of the symbol of life because God has literally given the life of Jesus in us (Col 1:27).

Christ has for sin atonement made;
What a wonderful Savior!
We are redeemed, the price is paid;
What a wonderful Savior!

I praise Him for the cleansing blood,
What a wonderful Savior!
That reconciled my soul to God.
What a wonderful Savior!

He cleansed my heart from all its sin,
What a wonderful Savior!
And now He reigns and rules therein;
What a wonderful Savior!

He gives me overcoming power,
What a wonderful Savior!
And triumph in each trying hour;
What a wonderful Savior!

To Him I’ve given all my heart:
What a wonderful Savior!
The world shall never share a part:
What a wonderful Savior!

What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus!
What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Lord!

(“What a Wonderful Saviour” by Elisha Hoffman)