The Life Blood

Reading in Leviticus today, this phrase leap out at me:

If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. (Leviticus 17:10-11)

It is the blood that makes atonement by the life.  As a worship leader, my mind is already set toward the season of Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter.  Reading this passage with Jesus in mind sheds light on what “atonement by his blood” is all about.  The perfect, sinless life of Jesus is what makes the atonement by the blood. Hebrews 9:13-14 says it this way:

For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

“Without blemish” is the key. Sometimes we tend to think of Jesus’ blood having some innate, supernatural power of its own.  But according to Levitical law, the blood makes atonement by the life. Let us not forget the significance of Jesus’ spotless life as we go into this season of remembering his death and resurrection.


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