Morning, January 20, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Abel was a keeper of flocks.” — Genesis 4:2
As a shepherd Abel consecrated his work to the glory of God, and offered a sacrifice of blood upon his altar, and the Lord had respect for Abel and his offering. This early representation of our Lord is exceedingly clear and distinct. Like the first streak of light which tinges the east at sunrise, it does not reveal everything, but it clearly displays the great fact that the sun is coming. As we see Abel, a shepherd and yet a priest, offering a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God, we perceive our Lord, who brings before his Father a sacrifice to which Jehovah forever respects.
Abel was hated by his brother — hated without a cause — and even so was the Savior: the natural and self-centered man hated the accepted man in whom the Spirit of grace was found, and did not rest until his blood had been shed. Abel fell, and sprinkled his altar and sacrifice with his own blood, and so there sets forth the Lord Jesus slain by the enmity of man while serving as a priest before the Lord. “The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Let us weep over him as we view him slain by the hatred of mankind, staining the horns of his altar with his own blood.
Abel’s blood speaks. “The Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.'” The blood of Jesus has a mighty voice, and the significance of its prevailing cry is not vengeance but mercy. It is precious beyond all else to stand at the altar of our good Shepherd, to see him bleeding there as the slaughtered priest, and then to hear his blood speaking peace to all his flock, peace in our conscience, peace between Jew and Gentile, peace between man and his offended Maker, peace all down the ages of eternity for blood-washed men! Abel is the first shepherd in order of time, but our hearts shall ever place Jesus first in order of excellence. You, great Keeper of the sheep, we the people of your pasture bless you with our whole hearts when we see you slain for us.