Nothing But The Blood (Leviticus 17:11) - Radical

Nothing But The Blood (Leviticus 17:11)

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”
-Leviticus 17:11

This is a really important verse when we think about the book Leviticus and all these sacrifices and even the prevalence of blood, and this is the first time we’ve seen this in the Bible. We see this in Exodus, Genesis and all over Leviticus, so these sacrifices and the prominence of blood in them. Why is it so important?

We deserve to die, but Jesus died in our place and we have life in Him through His blood shed for us. May we make this gospel known.

Well, when you dive into it, you begin to realize, “Okay, there’s no life in a body where there is no blood, so blood like in a very real sense, symbolizes physical life,” and so, when we see that the punishment for sin is death. In Romans 6:23, just basic Gospel truth, the wages, the payment for sin, is death. Then blood becomes a picture of life being taken, of life poured out, life given, blood shed.

And so, when you realize the payment for sin is death, you realize, “Okay, there’s hardly a more effective imagery than to see blood shed to show that the price of death has been paid. Now obviously, that sets the stage for the picture we see all throughout the New Testament of how Jesus’ blood shed covers over our sins.

Leviticus 17:11 Reminds Us of Jesus’ Sacrifice

His death makes the way for us to have life. This is why we sing songs that if you think about it are kind of unusual at best. “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus? What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.”

What a picture. We’re just talking about how blood flowing is precious. Why is that? And the reality is it’s because Jesus’ blood was shed on a cross. His life was given, death experienced, so that you and I can avoid eternal death and have eternal life. That’s what his blood symbolizes, and that’s even a physical reminder that God has given to us as an integral part of our worship gatherings in the church.

The Lord’s Supper. It’s a celebration of the giving of his body and the shedding of his what? His blood. Like we’re supposed to remember this all the time, that His life was given so that we might have life. His blood was shed to cover over all our sins, to atone for our sins.

A Prayer Based on Leviticus 17:11

So we pray continually. We praise God continually. Oh, God, we praise you for sending your son to shed His blood, to sacrifice His life for us, to cover over our sin. God, we deserve to die. Our blood deserves to be shed. We deserve to experience the full payment of sin, death, physical death, spiritual death, eternal separation from You. This is what we deserve, so, oh, we praise you.

Lord Jesus, we praise you continually every time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Even right now, the fact that we’re praying, we know this is only possible because of Your blood shed for our sins, Your blood that has washed us clean. So we say, “Yes, its flow is precious.”

We Have Life Because of Jesus’ Life Sacrifice

What can wash away our sins? Nothing but your blood? What can make us whole again? Nothing but your blood. Your blood shed for us gives us life. Your life sacrificed for us saves us from death. All glory be to Your name, Lord Jesus, for shedding your blood, sacrificing your life for us.

We have life today because of Your blood shed for us. All glory be to Your name and not just for us, for people around us, for people’s around the world. So, God, we just continually pray. Use our lives then to make the good news of Your shed blood, Your life sacrifice, not just for us but for the sins of the whole world, 1 John 2 says.

God, You desire all people, 2nd Peter 3:9, to know Your love, Your salvation, and so God, we pray that you use us to share this unusually glorious news this week with the people around us. And use our lives and our churches to make this glorious news known to people’s around the world, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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