For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Cor. 15:16,17)(ESV)
Why is this so? Why would the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God lose its efficacy if the Resurrection had not happened? The shedding of blood is the shedding of blood, is it not?
And that is the point.
The writer of Hebrews says that the blood of Jesus speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Heb. 12:24). Blood pollutes the land and guilt rises up to infect the inhabitants (Deut. 21:1-9), and this is intensified when we consider the blood shed from the first murder. Abel’s blood cries out against the earth itself and against God’s image bearers.
Jesus, God’s perfect image bearer, finally answers the crying out for justice with his own blood and drowns out the noise.
And yet we are left with more innocent blood. The levies of Abel’s blood were simply overwhelmed with the pure blood of Christ. And innocent blood cries out. If anything we are more doomed, and our sentence even greater, for we absorb the guilt brought on by the murder of the Son of God. The sons of Adam are all culpable. We have Christ’s blood on our hands.
Without the Resurrection, this is where are left, still in our sins. End of story.
But there is no gnostic “gospel.” Christ bodily rose from the dead. The sentence was reversed. Death itself was swallowed up. The blood of Christ still remains sprinkled on the earth, but the song it sings is now a different tune.
Thanks to the Resurrection, the blood crying out for condemnation now cries out for mercy and atonement. Thanks be to God for this wonderful gift.