But you have come to Mount Zion . . . 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 (ESV)
A few years ago, Vineyard Music published a song by Billy Somerville titled “Your Blood Says Everything.” The chorus goes like this:
“Hear the Word
Spoken from the tree
Heaven broken open
Your blood says everything
Your blood says everything”
Abel, the second born of Adam and Eve, was commended by God as righteous by accepting the gift of his sacrifice. On the other hand, Abel’s older brother Cain did not offer a sacrifice that was accepted by God. Cain became angry over God’s rejection of his offering and killed Abel as they worked in the field. God came calling: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:9-10 ESV)
Commentators seem to disagree on the exact meaning of Hebrews 12:24. The debate seems to be whether the text is referring to Abel’s own blood or the blood of his sacrifice. For certain, contrasts and comparisons can be drawn between Abel and Christ on both sides of this conundrum. Abel’s own blood cried out for vengeance whereas Christ’s blood cries for mercy. Abel’s own blood did not offer atonement for sin, it was his faith in offering an acceptable sacrifice that was counted to him for righteousness. The blood of Christ’s sacrifice atones for the sin of all who believe by faith in him. All who believe receive the imputed righteousness of Christ. There are other resemblances and contrasts that could be explored.
However, it seems a major point to be explored is that of Adam’s faith. In the previous chapter to our text the author of Hebrews wrote, By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4 ESV) Abel proved his faith by offering an acceptable sacrifice to God. And through his faith and sacrifice he made the declaration that salvation is by blood. Abel’s sacrifice was indeed a type, a shadow of the reality which was to come.
The reality which was to come was the sacrifice made by Jesus shedding his blood on the cross. The blood of Jesus’ sacrifice is in every way a more superior sacrifice than that of Abel. And the author makes it undeniably clear that the sprinkled blood of Jesus makes an infinitely better proclamation that salvation is by blood; more specifically his blood. Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant through his blood. His blood speaks of a purchased redemption, the forgiveness of sin, for all who by faith come to him.
Have you come to faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sin?
Scriptures for meditation: