“But you have come . . . to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
Speaking a Better Word
At four years old, my daughter witnessed her very first dead body. With her little hand holding mine, we walked up to the open casket of her great-grandmother to talk about death. Was she too young to be thinking about loss and grief and pain? I would contend that hiding children from the reality of death does more harm than good. Let’s face it, they will have to deal with it; in this life everyone does.
Death bears a cold message to the living. We see mines caving, hurricanes destroying, bridges collapsing, and wars ravaging. All of those deaths speak about loss, fear, anger, and “what-ifs.” Take the very first victim of death recorded in the Bible. Abel was murdered in a jealous rage by his brother Cain. What does his death say to you? “He was innocent.” “His poor family.” “Where’s the justice?” “Cain must be punished!” Death and violence fill our hearts with sadness and our eyes with tears.
But sitting at the funeral that day, my daughter and I talked about a different death, a joy-filled one. The one that God accomplished with cross and nail. When innocent blood fell softly from Jesus’ side—rushing into the past and pouring into the future—it carried God’s life of forgiveness to a world of death. Jesus’ death “speaks a better word” because it speaks of God’s willingness to do whatever was necessary to save me and to save you. Jesus’ death is the substance of joy-filled songs and tears of delight. Jesus’ death is God’s own guarantee that your death will only be the beginning of your perfect new life with him.
Jesus, I love the message your death speaks: that I’m forgiven and loved; and that my own death will one day be the beginning of a wonderful new life with you. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
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