Precious Blood 1 - R.C. Sproul
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:13-19 ESV)
Peter refers to the blood of Jesus as being precious, and what I want to consider with you are basically two things. First of all what that term precious means Biblically, and second of all why Peter would use an adjective of this type to describe the blood of Jesus. What is it that makes the blood of Christ precious?
Let's begin with a brief look at the word itself precious. We know that that which is precious transcends the ordinary, the commonplace, and brings us into the realm of the uncommon and of the extraordinary. We all know that in the land around us, we find a multitude of stones and rocks that were for the most part somewhat useless, and at times even representing an impediment, particularly to the farmer when he seeks to plant his crops. He must first go through the arduous task of removing the stones from the land because he knows that when he sows the seeds for his crops, if that seed falls upon the stones, it cannot germinate and cannot bring any root, and so these common stones are often considered merely a waste.
But we know that there are other stones that we encounter that are more rare, more scarce, in some instances quite beautiful and have a certain commercial value to them, and we refer to them as gem stones. But there's a category even higher than that when we use the term precious to describe certain stones. These are stones of an exceedingly high value.
We speak of precious metals and precious stones, diamonds, rubies, emeralds... On our 25th anniversary, I wanted to honor my wife of a quarter century at that time. I happened to have a friend in Orlando who had a friend in New York City who was a noted gemologist jeweler.
I said to my friend, can you find a way to secure for me a wonderful diamond that I could give to Vesta for our 25th anniversary? So he contacted the jeweler in New York City, a man in his seventies who had been in the practice for over 50 years, and after awhile, I got the report that he had found a stone that he believed was suitable for this new engagement ring that I was going to give my wife.
He made a trip to Orlando to show it to me and he had it wrapped in tissue paper, and he opened up the paper and said, I want to tell you a story about this stone. I said, what's that? He said, I've been a jeweler for over 50 years and it's been my task from time to time to rate and evaluate diamonds according to their color, according to their beauty, and according to their flaws. He said, never in my practice have I ever rated a diamond as being flawless. He said, but the first thing in my practices of jeweler, I have found a diamond in which I have not been able to detect a flaw. And he said, here it is.
He said, but I have to tell you I haven't rated it as flawless. I rated it as museum quality, but not as flawless because I don't think there is any such thing as a flawless stone, and even though I can't find the flaw, there has to be one there. I said, this is just what I wanted for my wife. So I told her the stone. I said, honey, this is no ordinary diamond. This should be one that lasts forever and should mean something to you.
Yet in terms of the value of that stone, it had to do with its flawlessness, and when Peter assigns the word precious to the blood of Jesus, it's because the blood of Jesus is the blood of a person who was flawless. What makes the value of the stoning sacrifice of Jesus is that it was offered by one who was sin-less. It was offered by one who was a lamb without blemish, without flaw. Beloved, anything less would not do.