Day 3

Jesus Is The True & Better Abel

from the Advent 2015: Born Is The King reading plan


Genesis 4:1-16, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:13

David knows me pretty well. When Coldplay released their album Viva La Vida seven years ago, my best friend knew I’d love it. I took his recommendation without hesitation. To this day, I still love it like few other albums.

What some don’t realize is the actual title is Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. The album hits its lyrical and musical climax with the song titled “Death and All His Friends” in which Chris Martin sings, “I don’t wanna follow Death and all his friends.” Of course, It’s not just death he is talking about, but the actual killing of another person and the horror of war.

I thought about that line a lot over the years. Who are Death’s friends? Anger, rage, enmity, hostility, jealousy—all the things that lead up to murder. All the “friends” that led up to Cain’s murder of Abel.

One of the more interesting parts of this story from Genesis is when God says to Cain after he killed Abel, “The voice of of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). What is Abel’s blood crying out for?

One of the chief themes of the Advent season is “Peace on earth,” and with good reason. Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). When the angels showed up for the birth of Jesus, they announced, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).

Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to make peace between God and man and, in so doing, make peace between men.

What is Abel’s voice crying out for? Peace on earth. The peace that Cain did not have with God, and the resulting lack of peace demonstrated in the the first murder.

Hebrews 12:24 tells us Jesus’s “sprinkled blood…speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” In their murders, both Jesus’ blood and Abel’s say something. Paul says Jesus was born to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20).

For all the talk of Christmas cheer, we cannot keep “death and all his friends” at bay in the month of December. For every Christmas party there’s a funeral. There’s also the temptation to be cynical about the hearts behind the smiles and gifts offered. Perhaps you yourself are harboring “murderous” thoughts about the family gathering together. Maybe you’ve felt the violence of divorce, knowing the season will never be what it once was. Has Death visited your home leaving an empty seat at the table?

What you need to know—what must not be missed amongst all the sales and wrapping paper—is that Jesus’s coming is a response to our cries for peace on earth. Abel’s blood cries out for peace. Jesus’s blood delivers it.

written by Matt B. Redmond

Post Comments (80)

80 thoughts on "Jesus Is The True & Better Abel"

  1. Kayla says:

    I’m not sure to be honest. I’m really confused on why he didn’t accept Cain’s offering in the first place. I know in Isaiah and Psalms He says that He wants “broken and contrite hearts” as sacrifice rather than offerings- and it does seem from Cain’s reaction that de did not offer that. But all it says is God did not take his offering. Help?
    Also, I see God’s grace in protecting Cain from attackers- but why does He do this after he murdered his brother?

  2. Kayla says:

    That the gospel is neither deserved nor earned. God’s grace only saves me from the consequences of my sin.

  3. Kayla says:

    The effects of the Fall are immediately evident in Adam and Eve’s children. Jealousy, Pride, etc. all lead up to Cain murdering Abel.

  4. Jordan Richert says:

    God, thank you for providing a Way out of sin and death. Thank you for making a Way of peace when all we know as humans is enmity and hate and sin like Cain. Thank you for bringing us near through Jesus’ life and death. Thank you for your amazing grace. Oh God, let me experience and live in the peace that you have brought to us in Jesus’ name. Amen.

  5. Tanner Holman says:

    My sin murdered Jesus. Jesus’s blood cries out for peace within my own soul, among other people around me, and with God. God has pardoned me by Jesus’s blood.

  6. Aaron says:

    Perusing him in my daily life by firing to self. Not perusing my wants but rather his wants for my life.

  7. Aaron says:

    The fact that Jesus died so that I may live is the Gospel!

  8. Aaron says:

    Oh boy, that we are selfishly seeking our wants and have to die to self everyday so that we can better serve God and others around us.

  9. Aaron says:

    That’s God will give me a heart of repentance and submission to his will for my life.

  10. Aaron says:

    That he wants relationship with us. That though we have sinned and fallen infinitely away from God he has made a way for us to get back to him. From the very first murder he was foreshadowing our redemption. Where a son shed his blood and showed fallenness another son would shed his blood and would redeem us all!

  11. David Bullard says:

    Man is unable to bring peace for himself. It is impossible. Only God can bring us peace despite our sinful hearts.

  12. David Bullard says:

    God is merciful. Even though he punished Cain for murdering Abel, he never left him. He never leaves us in our murderous and adulterous hearts. He has always had a plan to bring peace to our sinful ways, which is Jesus.

  13. David Bullard says:

    I need to see that all my attempts at gaining peace are vain without God. I need to find comfort and rest in him knowing that he will never leave me despite my sinfulness.

  14. David Bullard says:

    There is good news in the fact that Jesus’s blood was spilt. If there was no blood to cover us, we wouldn’t have peace from our rebellious hearts.

  15. Tom Pavelle says:

    Deep within us we feel the injustice of suffering and death. Non-Christians too will cry out about the suffering in the world, seeking an answer. We cannot deny the existence of death and pain and sin, and Jesus in all his goodness, agrees with us and says ‘sorted’. May His glorious salvation be known to all, and may the cries of the sufferers call out to him.

  16. Caleb Adams says:

    Dear lord
    I pray that you will help me to realise when I am giving in to jealousy and I will stand firm in you when life gets tuff. Also I pray that you help me to be more grateful at what have and that life alone is an amazing gift and help me tell my friend the gift of Jesus
    Amen

  17. Caleb Adams says:

    That God is the only sacrifice that is able to save us and that through that he has delivered what able was crying out for. Peace

  18. Caleb Adams says:

    Help me to learn when I am leaning into jealousy and to help me control my feelings towards others. And to help me be happy and grateful with what I have.

  19. Taylor Homeyer says:

    Amongst sin, the Lord instantly seeks justice through redemption and peace.

  20. Taylor Homeyer says:

    The gospel shines so brightly here. Cain kills Abel and Abel’s blood is crying out. Crying out to whom? For what? To the Lord! For Peace! From the very beginning the gospel is so apparent in the sin of Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel.

  21. Taylor Homeyer says:

    There’s a lot of practicality in this passage: there’s understanding the sin behind Cain’s murderous actions, understanding the need for justice and peace, practically living this out with friends/family in checking our heart away from sin.

  22. Jonathan Newman says:

    Abel’s blood cried out to God for peace, and Jesus’ blood made that happen between us and God for those of us who trust him for it. Because we who were far away and alienated from God have been brought near, this gives us a level ground with all mankind regardless of ethnicity or nationality.

  23. Jonathan Newman says:

    At every corner there is temptation to give into the ways of death, that is the death of peace, including cynicism, bitterness, envy, resentment, judgementalism, hatred, rage, and ill-will. We are never immune to the effects of sin on our hearts and in our relationships. From the beginning, mankind screwed life up terribly and we sent ourselves on a downward spiral of strife, selfishness, and violence.

  24. Jonathan Newman says:

    Peace with God means that I have been forgiven and understood to the infinite degree, so my response must be to fully embrace peace with my neighbors of every background and appearance. Seeking true peace in all relationships should be my aim.

  25. Jonathan Newman says:

    God’s intention for the world was that we would choose peace and to live with love for our fellow man. He has an amazing way of bringing redemption to the failure of mankind, bringing the story full circle.

  26. McClain C says:

    It almost feels like Jesus’s blood came to counteract that of mans constant bloodshed. God is a conquerer of death and all his friends.

  27. Jeremy Morin says:

    God’s plan is constant, even though it may seem to be absent. At least 14 people were killed today in yet another shooting, God’s plan remains to bring peace between men, even though it seems to be absent.

  28. Ryan Schilter says:

    God wants peace on earth. He does not want evil to lurk around in the shadows and take over, but it does. So he sent his son down to us in order to take away our sins and the evil actions and thoughts that we have.

  29. Ryan Schilter says:

    As long as there are men on earth there will always be evil. We allow evil into our hearts and mind instead of believing in the word of the lord and having faith in his plan for us.

  30. Will Givens says:

    The God of peace will stop at nothing to reconcile we who were far off, not even sparing the life of his own Son

  31. Tom Davis says:

    Knowing that Man is sinful, we are constantly seeking Peace. We attempt to find it in so many places, sometimes we find Peace in a sudden random act, but then we realize that that Peace is fleeting and unfulfilling. It is our lack of Peace that blinds us to the very thing we seek, the Peace that God has already given us, His Mercy and Grace.

  32. Tom Davis says:

    That it holds the answers we are looking for, we just have to be willing to acknowledge that our Peace is already here.

  33. Tom Davis says:

    By trying to let go of my “death’s friends”, to instead become aware of the Peace that has already been given to me.

  34. Tom Davis says:

    God is a just and compassionate God. He hears our cries for Peace and has answered them.

  35. Tom Davis says:

    For clarity, and for understanding of what God and Jesus have already provided for me.

  36. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    That Jesus came to bring peace to the relationship between us and God, creating a passage for us to be with God eternally.

  37. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    In our deepest of hearts we cry out and yearn for peace.

  38. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    Thankful for the peace made by Jesus between us and God, and dwell in that truth as I rejoice in our Savior’s birth and the purpose of His coming.

  39. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    God desires to have peace with His creation that He spares nothing to accomplish it.

  40. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    Pray for peace to be known in areas of my life that do not know the Gospel, and also pray for peace with God for others.

  41. Jordan Benesh says:

    Loving thy brother and they neighbor, continually reorienting to the cross in remembrance of Jesus’ life.

  42. Jordan Benesh says:

    Jesus takes away the sins of the world and makes all things new: where Cain murdered Abel, Jesus sacrifices his own life for us.

  43. Jordan Benesh says:

    Man falls short. Man cannot do what God does, what Jesus does. Man sins, God forgives sin. Man tears apart, God reconciles. Man is broken, God is whole.

  44. Jordan Benesh says:

    God reconciles all things to himself through his son Jesus; even our most heinous acts are forgiven and made right by his extension of grace

  45. Jordan Benesh says:

    I pray for reconciliation, I pray for grace, I pray for peace and for thanksgiving. I pray that God would use his hands to guide us through life’s most difficult times and cheer us through its greatest triumphs, and that through those ups and down we would not lose sight of Jesus’ ultimate goal in his ministry: peace among men.

  46. Gregg D says:

    Man is fallen and needs to be restored to God. Outside of Christ we are far from God.

  47. Gregg D says:

    The good news of Jesus is that his death has paid the price of my sins. That through his sacrifice I am no longer an enemy of God.

  48. Gregg D says:

    Be grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus and realize that it was Jesus that has made me right to God, not good choices, staying out of trouble, trying hard, etc.

  49. Gregg D says:

    God is a just God and sin has consequences. He is clear in his expectations to Able / if you do good won’t you also be accepted? And he is clear with us – if you accept Jesus your sins will be forgiven.

  50. Gregg D says:

    Thank you God for loving me enough to send Jesus to be sacrificed so I could be made right with you. So that I can spend eternity with you. So that I can have victory over sin. Help me remember your grace and love that’s is pictured at the cross.

  51. Isaac says:

    Cry out for peace in my heart, in my family, in my church, in my work,in my community. Pray his blood covers more and more hearts and brings peace to the earth.

  52. Cam says:

    Man is very prone to violence and evil. This is not what God wants for us. We need him to change us. Sin is always crouching at our doorstep.

  53. Cam says:

    I need to find my roots again. I’ve been so busy tending my broken limbs that I’ve forgotten to water my roots.

  54. Cam says:

    This has been an interesting time in my life when it comes to me diving into concepts and ideas that I haven’t pondered deeply before. I’ve been looking at conditionalism, death, and violence. The truth is, God wants peace. He always has. I’m trying to mull over what that means and how it looks. Should I defend myself and my family physically? I think the answer is yes. But regardless, what God wants more than anything is peace and reconciliation.

  55. Cam says:

    The gospel changes everything. Jesus changes everything. Love is at the heart of everything. Figuring out how to love the aggressor and the aggressed at the same time is something that I am wrestling with.

  56. Blake MacNelly says:

    God is continuously present in my day to day. He must be otherwise He cannot judge righteously.

    He is not preferential. He offers salvation to each and all who simply believe and repent.

    He loves us unconditionally. He does not expect perfection, but a reciprocation of that love. In Jesus we can practice and perfect the mutuality of love between God and us.

  57. Blake MacNelly says:

    The gospel covers everything. It doesn’t just show up occasionally…it’s always. It is the story and the light and the purpose for everything. To reclaim us to Himself, God killed His son. This son willingly died, out of a love for us and His father. He trusted wholeheartedly the will of the Father.

  58. Blake MacNelly says:

    I want to be renewed…I need to spend time in the word and in prayer for my own sanctification and needs depend on it.

    I cannot be apathetic towards my life in regards to my spiritual state. I’m practicing failure everyday as I continue to walk in apathy and lack of effort and cynicism. I’m allowing emotions and failure and shame to dictate. I require truth and love to move out of this valley.

    Authenticity with God and with others.

  59. Blake MacNelly says:

    Man is wicked. We are continuously fallible and the potential always remains for us to be overpowered by sin if we let it.

    We are loved and welcomed by God in Christ to come near. We have power and authority to command the flesh with the spirit.

    We are insecure and jealous. I have the tendency to trust in my insecurity rather than believe in the word as it is spoken to me. This is outrageous.

  60. Blake MacNelly says:

    Father, please give me a willing heart and a willing mind
    I also ask for courage to be real and honest and vulnerable with a few people.
    I pray for encouragement in this time of depression where I wrestle with insecurities and shame and who I am.
    I pray for my friends and family and for their salvation, encouragement, and success.
    I pray for the internationals I’m with. For the refugees. For the world.
    For our relationship. That I would embrace you and trust you. A repentant heart. That I would be watchful, and not give into sin. That I would feel intimacy with you, not a false intimacy with idols.

  61. Nate W says:

    “This is current history!” / The message or God’s peace and forgiveness is relevant yesterday, today, and always. There is no place, no person, no situation to which it does not apply. This needs to be shared, however possible, with all.

  62. Nate W says:

    “You… hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world… you who were once out of it altogether…” / We are lost and need God to put together the pieces of the puzzle of our lives, our purpose, our destiny. We are a mess. Broken, clueless, frenzied. In accepting Christ into our lives, we are able to come into the knowledge of God’s plan through trusting that we are following His divine lead.

  63. Nate W says:

    “God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin.” / God made a sacrifice so that we might live eternally with Him. He wanted to share this with us. He wants to be in communion, in fellowship with us. There would be no reason for sacrifice if God did not desire our company. The Gospel is meant to be shared.

  64. Nate W says:

    “God sets things right. He… makes it possible for us to live in His rightness.” / God is the bridge between the chaos of human nature and the peace of Christful living. Without God’s presence, we wouldn’t know what peace meant or felt like. This is why we can know God is everywhere. In the forest trees, on a misty lake, during an afternoon stroll, God IS because peace is. Even in the middle of flurry and bustle, peace can be found because God is present.

  65. Nate W says:

    “But don’t take any of this for granted.” / There is no promise of tomorrow. The message of God’s peace is saving, but also urgent. I need to live in conscious urgency of the limited time left and those who haven’t heard/accepted Jesus.

  66. Brad says:

    It is necessary, as all other redeemed relationships are a reflection of the greatest relationship that was redeemed through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

  67. Brad says:

    Humankind NEEDS a Mediator. Certainly one to help reconcile relationships between humans, but even more essentially between humankind and God. Our son always makes us violent and hateful.

  68. Brad says:

    God listens to our cries for peace, and is aware of the injustice we experience. And the injustice we perpetrate. Jesus is the only true Mediator; the only One who can bring peace among humanity and between God and His creation.

  69. Brad says:

    I want to reconcile the broken relationships in my life, knowing that this is possible only because of Jesus’ work on the cross. If His sacrifice was enough to reconcile me and God, it is more than enough to do the same with my human relationships.

  70. Chris Cambell says:

    That God must love us an awful lot because we’re a really messed up bunch and yet He saves us anyway.

  71. Chris Cambell says:

    God sees future problems and takes steps to prevent them but still leaves plenty of room for us to succeed or fail.

  72. Chris Cambell says:

    Man is emotional, sensitive, and pitiful. We can kill or rage due to jealousy, greed, envy, or even perceived slights.

  73. Chris Cambell says:

    I will remember the folly of Cain when I get angry at those I love lest I murder them in my heart through selfishness and frustration.

  74. Aaron Mitchell says:

    I will respond with a change of heart. I have been allowing this world to bring me down through physical fatigue and mental stress. I have been plagued by work and poor and immoral decisions. I will allow God’s light, and the utter joy of his Son to fill every part of my being. I rejoice in his coming and in the joy that he has spread to this world!! Joy has come and with it, the best promise of all time!! Praise be to God the Lord Most High!!!

  75. Aaron Mitchell says:

    God is Just, and often it is hard to see, as my justification for many things is not of the same mind as God. He is perfect in his ways and he knew exactly what the Blood of Christ would do for the world. I see his justification, and through that I also he his endless love.

  76. Aaron Mitchell says:

    This shows me the imperfection of man. How one man’s wrong has spread to every man woman and child since the beginning of time. It shows that we have a desire for evil without Christ in our hearts and that is a very scary thing to behold.

  77. Aaron Mitchell says:

    The Gospel is good news!!! As said before Christ’s blood provided the peace that Abel’s blood has been crying for. The Gospel is the epic story of God’s master plan, and it is exciting to know that I am a part of the redemptive process.

  78. Aaron Mitchell says:

    I will pray that Gods light will spill over from my heart to everyone I meet. I will pray that I will not be dragged down by flesh or the struggles of this world and that I might live in peace and Joy and God has designed it.

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