How Much Blood Should Someone Shed For Offending Us?

Text: Hebrews 9:11-15

It all sounds very bloody, doesn’t it? That is to say, the reading from the Book of Hebrews sounds very uncomfortable and even a tad bit barbaric: 

[Jesus] entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 

No matter how much we try to sanitize and tame the Bible, there are verses like this that make us squirm. The sound of blood and sacrifice offends our supposedly sophisticated and modern sensibilities. And as already stated, the sound of blood and sacrifices even sounds a bit barbaric to our ears.  

However, is it really that barbaric? Are we modern and sophisticated Americans really that cultured and civilized that we are taken aback by our reading in Hebrews? No, we are not!

Dear friends, we all know that life is found in our blood. Without blood, we can’t live. And when blood is shed, we can literally see and feel life leaving our bodies. This is not something that is new to our ears. This is something that we already know.  

Let me explain a bit more.  

Contrary to what people may think, our culture and world are very bloodthirsty. Our culture is very eager to cause other people to shed blood. For example, consider what happens in our culture when someone feels as if they have been offended. When someone feels as if they have been wronged, they seek the shedding of blood. Now, please listen carefully; they do not physically go out to shed blood with a weapon or a fist, but they still seek to shed blood. You see, when our culture is offended, individuals become full of anger, frustration, and the desire for justice – they become bloodthirsty. And then, these individuals seek to harm and punish those who offended them. This can take many forms, from verbal attacks, to social media shaming, gossip, and slander. Simply stated, the whole intent and purpose of this revenge is to drain another person's blood – to inflict harm to their emotional and even their physical life. Instead of going to the other person that offended them - to address the underlying issue of wrong – our society instead gathers a mob to destroy another person’s reputation, character, and livelihood. When offended, our culture wants blood.  

But why the intensity?  

You see, when you are offended by another person, your conscience can become insulted, twisted, and ruined, leading you to anger, sorrow, confusion, and even the thirst for revenge. However, to put the conscience back together again, we falsely believe that if we inflict pain on the person who offended us – if we shed some of their blood – our conscience can be soothed and satisfied. Remember that we may not seek the physical shedding of blood, but nonetheless, in revenge, it functions in the same way. 

The reason is, when sin happens, we demand payment. And that payment is the blood of another. We demand the suffering of their life to set things right. If they cause us to suffer, then they must suffer in return. If they shed our blood, we feel the need to shed their blood.

If you watch any drama movie or read any drama book, the majority of the stories contain a person who is wronged, and then they seek to shed the blood of another person to put their life back together. And we, the audience, well… any good book or movie will tie our conscience in a knot and lead us down a path where we hope that our conscience will be put to rest when the bad person gets what is coming for them. 

Again, the point that is being made is that sin demands the shedding of blood. This is not a barbaric idea but something ingrained in us all. We see it everywhere. We watch this happen in movies and in the news, we read about it in books and newspapers, and we even thirst for the shedding of blood in other people who offend us. If blood is shed, we believe that our conscience will be at rest and all of life will be set right. 

But this brings up a very important question – how much blood does someone need to shed for offending us? When someone does a wrong, who must bleed and how much? Who should the whipping boy be, and how many lashes must he take?

Dear friends, the world is not able to answer these questions. And the reason why, the world isn’t too interested in the full satisfaction for sins. You see, much of the world is built on a culture of revenge and bloodthirsty vengeance. The world would not know what to do if full satisfaction for sins would be achieved. But nonetheless, the questions still remain for you and me; when someone offends, who must bleed, and how much?  

Perhaps an even more difficult question is this: how much blood do you and I have to shed for the sins we commit against others? If you and I demand the blood of others for the times that they offend us, how much blood must we shed to make up for the sins that we commit against them? 

Let me just shoot straight with you – there is not enough blood and life within you and me to make up for the sins that we have committed against others. There is more sin in you than there is blood to atone for your sins. You cannot bleed out enough to make up for the sins that you have committed. If you think that you can, well… you are a fool to be pitted.  

And so, here is the real kicker - if you do not have the capacity to bleed for all the sins you have committed, why do you expect others to bleed out for the sins that they have committed against you? This is our hypocrisy at its worst!

Please listen! There is so much sin in our lives and in the lives of others that we cannot shed enough blood to fix this sin. This world is a world where all of humanity is constantly sinning against one another, and then we set out with vengeance and revenge to draw blood from others for their offense, when they do not have enough blood to shed for their offense. And while we are making the demands of others to shed their blood for their failures and sins against us, we often do not give a second thought for all the shed blood that we owe for our sins and failures. 

What a horrible, bloody mess!!!

The reading from the Book of Hebrews tells us something rather profound, though.   

[Jesus] entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 

Now, did you hear that? Once for all, using His own blood as the price to free you, Jesus atoned for your sin and the sins of the entire world. The Son of God made one payment for you. By shedding His blood for you, Christ forgives you and purifies your conscience. By Himself and by shedding His blood only one time, He made your eternal life sure. 

And so, what this means is that every single sin of your neighbor and every single sin committed by you finds its end in the shed blood of Christ. No more blood needs to be shed. There is more forgiveness in Jesus’ shed blood than there is sin in you and your neighbor combined.  

Hear this loud and clear; all sin must find its end in Jesus’ shed blood; otherwise, Christ died for nothing. And your conscience, whether you are sinned against or whether you sin against your neighbor, your conscience is purified by the blood of Christ – knowing that Christ’s blood is the end of sin's condemnation and the world’s shame. 

And so, while the world will make demands for more and more shed blood for every single offense that it finds, you as a Christian, know that only the blood of Christ is needed. Furthermore, unlike the world’s endless demands for more and more shed blood, your Jesus does not need to be killed over and over again, for He is the one-time satisfaction for every sin of the entire world.

Baptized Saints, this is where the Season of Lent is leading us. In the Season of Lent, we see our sins. However, the Season of Lent is turning you and me this Passiontide Sunday to the shed blood of Mt. Calvary, where we hear again that the Son of God died once for all – shedding His own blood – to make full satisfaction for you and me. 

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

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