Jesus’ blood speaks to us a better message than the blood of Abel that speaks to us from the earth. Abel’s blood speaks a word of judgment and vengeance and it speaks from the physical earth where it was shed. Jesus’ blood speaks to us from heaven and it brings the message of a new covenant of forgiveness. If we fail to pay attention to Jesus’ message of forgiveness, we’re back in the sphere of the law and we’ve all failed under the law so there is no chance of escape from the fearful judgment of God. If we fail to avail ourselves, pay heed to, and respond in faith to the new covenant promise of forgiveness through faith in Christ which comes to us, not from the earth but from heaven, we’re back to Mount Sinai with nothing but God’s wrath and judgment on our sin. This is what the writer is saying in Hebrews 12:25. It reads, “See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.”

There is only one imperative in this verse: “see that you do not refuse him who is speaking.” At the beginning of this letter the author of Hebrews made it clear that God spoke to us in various ways in the past. But in these days he speaks to us through His Son, Jesus. Several times he has urged us to give careful attention to the message of Jesus. He told us to keep our eyes on him as we walk the trails through all the trials of life. In chapter three he even insisted that we “pay careful attention” to him. This is all reminiscent of the mount of transfiguration where Peter was speaking about building tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah when God interrupted him from the cloud and said in Luke 9:35, “This is my chosen one, listen to Him!” This was a voice from heaven! Jesus too speaks to us from heaven.

The book of Hebrews has given us good reason to give Jesus all our attention. Going back to the beginning of the book we learn that we should listen to Jesus because, as Lea points out, “…the penalties for neglecting Jesus are too severe.” vs. 1–4) “The idea of drifting away compared the audience to a boat sailing past warning signs to meet destruction and ruin on a rocky shore or in a raging rapid. The Hebrews needed to do something. They were listless while their situation demanded positive action. ‘Pay attention to your plight,’ said our writer, ‘lest you carelessly fall into ruin.’”[1] Neglecting or ignoring the heavenly proclamation of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus is much worse than ignoring or neglecting the message mediated by angels to Moses on Sinai. Abel’s blood speaks out from earth for justice. Jesus blood cries out from heaven for forgiveness! If we reject God’s forgiveness, we only have justice left. Since God, in His great love for us, provided a way of escape through faith in Jesus. Jesus is our only exit as we plummet down the road to destruction.

[1] Thomas D. Lea, Hebrews, James, vol. 10, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 24.