And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
This seems like ugly teaching to us. We don’t buy things with our blood or make transactions in sacrifices, or profit from slaughter. This language of blood is primitive, and reeks of the messiness of an ancient religion. Priests were cutting the lambs all day like butchers, their hands slippery with animal blood to pay the price for sinners. But what spiritual value is there in lamb and cow blood? None. The value was in the meat if it was anywhere, and those sacrifices were used for the priest’s family dinner every day. However, this primitive idea of blood is the only way to understand Christ. He’s not a moral story of sacrifice, to inspire you or me to give up our lives against injustice. It has that element, but it’s incidental to the main idea.
The lesson of the priest’s daily butchering of animals, of all of that blood all over the altar, is Jesus paying for us with His blood. It’s elemental and visceral. Sinners must pay with their lives for what wrong they do. Our God has made it clear; only blood will pay. So the praise of heaven, here in this text, is this: praise Him for how He bought us with His blood. Is that your story? Purchased by blood? Is your hope this bloody business, this transaction of His blood for your life? I will become ugly about this. I will die on this hill. I will preach this ugly truth about Jesus saving sinners with blood because it’s the truth that makes me beautiful. Rejoice today; you have been made holy and gorgeous before God by the bloody business of the Lamb. Praise Him! Amen.