The Bible is a bloody book and nowhere is that more evident than in the book of Leviticus. It feels like there’s some reference to blood in every chapter, and Leviticus 8-9 are particularly saturated (pun intended). There’s blood being sprinkled, blood being thrown, and blood being rubbed on ear lobes, thumbs, and big toes—which makes for an interesting read for the squeamish or hemophobic.
So what’s with all the blood?
A few thousand years later, the author of Hebrews answered the question: “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22).
As with many things pictured in the Old Testament, the blood shed by the various sacrifices was not only commanded by God, it was also foreshadowing a better sacrifice, one whose blood would atone for the sins of the world once and for all.
As we head into a season of more conscious and consistent gratitude and thanksgiving, let’s be grateful that we no longer have to keep up with the sacrificial system of the old covenant. We live under the new covenant, in which “he [Jesus] entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).