What Bible Story Has CSI’s Fingerprints All Over It?

crime-scene-tape-fingerprintIf the CSI crowd delves into Bible stories, I bet there’s a knowing gleam in their eyes when they cross the yellow crime scene tape that hangs in the middle of Genesis 4. The murder case is pretty much a no-brainer. The victim is one of a total human population of four. That certainly narrows down the suspect list. He was last seen heading out into the field with his older brother. And we know there’s been bad blood between them. It’s an open-and-shut case.

What I think would pique the interest of the CSI folks is the interrogation of the perp.

God: “Where is Abel, your brother?”
Cain: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
God: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.”

If there’s a verse in all of Scripture that could be chiseled in stone above the offices and labs of Crime Scene Investigation units, this is it: “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” Our blood has loose lips. It’s no good at keeping secrets. By analyzing the pattern of blood stains at a crime scene, investigators can recreate the events that led up to the murder. And the blood itself tells our inner story, everything from our DNA to our diseases. Our veins conceal secrets of which we ourselves are not even consciously aware. If Abel’s blood is spilled all over the ground or if a mere speck had been lodged in the fabric of Cain’s shirt, that blood cries out. It has a voice and it will speak to whomever is willing to listen.

The Lord certainly listens. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. And the spilled blood of his saints is a language to which God is all ears. The martyrs of ISIS may be led to the slaughter as silent as lambs, but the lips of their severed veins utter words that pierce heaven’s veil. He hears them as he hears babies slaughtered in utero, teens with slit wrists, and soldiers whose homecomings are never to be.

But not only does the Lord hear bleeding bodies; he hears the bleeding hearts of children who feel rejected and unloved, lonely women whose hearts have been fissured by the infidelity of men, men whom the world has wadded up and thrown into the garbage heap. The voice of the blood from their broken hearts cries out from alleys and empty beds and dead-end lives. And that voice travels upward, to the Lord who is all ears, all heart, all the time.

The author of Hebrews says that the blood of Jesus speaks a “better word than the blood of Abel,” (12:22).  The well-known Lenten hymn would have us sing,

Abel’s blood for vengeance,
Pleaded to the skies,
But the blood of Jesus,
For our pardon cries.

But I think the poet may be mistaken. What if Abel’s blood not for vengeance but for pardon pleaded to the skies? Cain’s little brother is a model of fidelity, whose faith was manifest on earth and witnessed from heaven at the altar. Like the crucified messiah, Abel the martyr pleaded for heaven to forgive Cain, for he knew not what he did. And since the life is in the blood, that blood continued to cry out to God, even as Abel’s body lay lifeless in the dust. It sought not vindication but mercy, forgiveness for the crime of which he was the victim. The blood of Jesus speaks a “better word than the blood of Abel,” for it speaks in a superior way. It grants in full that which Abel’s blood only gave in part. For the blood of Jesus finished the prayer for mercy that the blood of Abel began.

The blood of Jesus refuses to be silent. It speaks on your behalf. It is your voice, your advocate before the Father’s throne. The blood of Christ says that you are his brother. He has adopted you into the family so that you are a child of our Father in heaven. So do not think, even for a moment, that your wounds are unknown to the Lord. If even the hairs on your head are numbered, then certainly so are your scars. The voice of your blood, your hurts, your losses, cries out to God, for your voice merges with the voice that once cried out, “Father, may these children be with me wherever I am…sanctify them in the truth…forgive them…it is finished….” Your blood mixes with Christ’s blood, your hurts with his pains, your losses with his death, your all with his all, so that in one mass crimson choir the voice of Jesus and all who are his rises unified to the Father and reverberates in his throne room. He hears; how could he not hear those who are his very heart? He acts; how could he who is love not act in love for his saints?

The Lord who is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He is near you, he will save you, for you are in Christ, whose blood cries out for mercy, at all times, for you.

christ alone coverWhat we need in our fragmented world, full of hurting people, is the love of Jesus Christ, who InfantPriestfrontcoverwelcomes home sinners with a grace that knows no bounds. My book Christ Alone: Meditations and Sermons, is packed with reflections that go that extra mile of grace. Again and again, they present the Christ who is crucified and risen for you. Please take a moment to check it out here. You may also be interested in my collections of hymns and poetry entitled, The Infant Priest, which you can purchase here. Both books are also available on Amazon, as is my booklet Why Lutherans Sing What They Sing (also on Kindle). Thank you for your prayers and support!

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6 thoughts on “What Bible Story Has CSI’s Fingerprints All Over It?

  1. I agree with the thought of pleading for mercy for your enemy. But keep in mind there were more than 4 people in the world.

    13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
    15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

  2. Oscar T. Cope on said:

    Chad, all of your posts are thought provoking…but the CSI post is
    AWESOME! Thanks, Oscar

  3. Chad,
    You just confirmed something God put on my heart last week and a conversation I was just having earlier today with a friend literally minutes before I read this. When you look at Gen 4, it’s actually not as we commonly teach, a morality tale about “Good guy, Abel” vs. “Bad Guy, Cain”. The chapter is not even about them at all – it’s about what the rest of the Bible is about. It’s about God and the revelation of His Name, His Character, His Glory, etc.
    What I see in Gen 4 is that God is actually the shepherd and avenger of both Abel AND Cain. He does not in fact strike down Cain or immediately avenge his murder, but rather mercifully (as He did when He clothed Adam and his wife) marks Cain with a mark of protection. Not in an ultimate redemptive sense, but in a micro-cosmic sense that mirrors the redemptive story line, God kind of marks Cain as one of His sheep. In light of the insight you set forth in this blog, Abel’s apparent intercession for Cain’s forgiveness was heard! God didn’t avenge Abel by killing Cain right away… God promised to avenge Cain and that sevenfold! Grace is so unfair and nonsensical and that’s what makes it amazing. Interesting perspective you set forth. Thanks again for writing and sharing.

  4. Brings to mind the lines of that old song…there is power, power, wonder working power in the blood…

    I first met Bridget when she sang with a group in a charismatic coffeehouse. That song was a standard. We’ve been married now for 40 years.
    John

  5. Chad,
    As a follow up, I do have a couple of questions. I like your insight here and in many ways (as I listed above), it makes sense. I have however previously thought of Abel’s blood crying out to God as a prayer for vengeance for the following reasons: (1) The passages in Luke 18 and Rev 6 that depict prayers of the persecuted and martyred resemble Gen 4. (2) Heb 12 (better than the blood of Abel) appears to be contrasting “vengeance” against “mercy”. (3) God appears to avenge the blood of Abel eventually in the flood AND also Gen 4 and 5 appear to contrast Lamech’s cry for 77-fold vengeance against God’s just vengeance in Gen 7 and 8. Can you help me reconcile the Abel’s-blood-as-cry-for-mercy with the above mentioned concerns? Thanks! Your blog posts rock by the way!

  6. Pingback: What Bible Story Has CSI’s Fingerprints All Over It? | LIBERATE

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