“For the life of the flesh is in the blood,…” Leviticus 17:11
The above verse is one of if not the most remembered of all that is in the Book of Leviticus. Leviticus is one of if not the most skipped book of all the Bible. Yet even here amongst the appearance of tedious ceremonial and judicial laws, God presents His Gospel and His moral character. It may not be plain and straightforward, but it is there. The discerning and attentive reader will find wonderful truth and application even among the instruction to the Jewish Church.
The context here is familiar. The Lord God instructs concerning the sacrificial system. The understanding is conveyed that sin must be atoned for with blood. We understand this as a type, shadow, and rehearsal for the ultimate sacrifice of the Lord Jesus who shed His blood once for all and sat down in completion and finality at the right hand of the Father. That is significant and important and is the lens through which this passage must be read and understood.
Yet there remains another layer that is worth noting here. The life of the flesh is in the blood. My medical knowledge is weak and scanty at best, but a good hematologist will be able to go on and on for hours about the importance, complexity, necessity, and amazing design of blood and its function in the human body. It is absolutely essential to life and the healthier the blood the healthier the person. I have always thought that if medieval, renaissance, and enlightenment doctors understood Leviticus better that the medical practice of blood letting would never have been practiced or praised. Blood is symbolic of and needed for life. This is why the shedding of blood by another is such a terrible crime. To take a life is to destroy something that is precious to the Creator. The Bible makes it plain that with the shedding of blood, established governments are to enact that upon the murderer. It displays the value and preciousness of life and the supreme gift of God that it is. In like manner, our sin against God as humanity deserves death. But by His mercy and grace, God provided substitution.
Does blood run through your veins? Then consider the precious gift you have of life. Consider that God has put you here to glorify Him and has a special way for you to do that. Consider that your eternal life was so precious to Him that he gave his only begotten son to condescend to become flesh and blood to shed that blood in your behalf. The life of your flesh is in your blood, but the eternal life of spirit and flesh was in His blood. If you have been bought and paid for by that life giving blood then rejoice in your rest and be glad that you live forever in Him. Consider how great God’s creation and redemption is and rejoice that you have life!