Murder isn’t far from any of us. We’ve got blood on our hands.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire (Matthew 5:21–22 ESV).”
“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15 ESV).”
When Peter preached to the crowds on Pentecost He spoke of “Jesus whom you crucified (Acts 2:26 ESV).” It is highly unlikely that this is the exact crowd that cried out “Crucify Him!” but that cry expressed every rebel sinner’s heart. Later the church would pray, “truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel (Acts 4:27 ESV).” The cross isn’t about ethnic hatred for God’s Messiah, but human hatred.
The first murder was committed by the first son of Adam. As weeds and thorns now find ready root in cursed soil, so anger finds fertile ground in fallen man’s heart to bud in the fruit of murder. Cain slew his brother Abel. God told Abel “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground (Genesis 4:10 ESV).” The blood of the murdered cried out against the murderer.
The cross expresses every son of Adam’s heart towards One more innocent than Abel. But the blood of Christ instead of calling out for our condemnation, speaks for our justification. Hebrews tells us that we have come “to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:24 ESV).” With Jesus, the blood of the murdered cries out for the murderers. We are given life by His death; pardon in His bearing our condemnation. O what horrid sin, O what unfathomable grace: the blood on our hands has been sprinkled on our hearts.