But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. Ephesians 2:13-16 (NRSV)
The idea of blood sacrifice is rather noxious and offensive to modern sensibilities. We shy away from any notion that our meat comes from a slaughterhouse or even the realization that a living creature has to die so we can have leather shoes, or steaks, or fish. Not that we should all become vegan (though some are called to do so) but we should be aware that everything has a cost, and that we are to be good stewards of God’s creation.
Last night one of my dogs had a run-in with a raccoon. Raccoons can inflict serious damage on dogs (and the dog involved did incur a few minor scrapes and scratches) but in the end, the 20# raccoon didn’t make it in a fight with an 80# Catahoula Leopard Dog. This particular dog breed is used in Texas and Louisiana as a “hog dog”- meaning they are bred to track down and flush out wild boar. Some hunters also use them to flush out raccoons, (as well as for protection and tracking) as these dogs are agile and can climb trees.
It’s not a pleasant sight to encounter a bloody creature that was alive just minutes before- and that died in the jaws of an otherwise friendly family dog. It’s not a thrilling activity to clean all the blood and gore off of the friendly family dog either.
Blood sacrifice- or killing in general- is not pretty. It is gory. It has a smell. It is costly. It is painful to watch.
Yet our salvation was bought with the costliest sacrifice of all- not the blood of a woodland creature who wandered too close to a house in the city, but the blood of the Lord of Life Himself.
It is easy for us to look at each other with skepticism and derision- or even outright hate- and we would be hypocrites if we claim that we always love our fellow human beings with the sacrificial love of Christ. It’s NOT easy to see others with the eyes of Jesus, especially when they are not treating us the way we should be treated. It is almost impossible for mere humans to love people who have done unspeakably vile and horrible things.
Yet being covered by the blood of Jesus came at an immeasurable cost. He didn’t look at how lovable or how good we might be, or at how terrible and evil we might be. He simply laid down His life to save ours. He covered us in His blood, so that our sin and shame and failure would no longer be visible to God.
He has made forgiveness and renewal and eternal life possible where it was once impossible. All because we are covered by His blood.