“As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” (Acts 21:25)
Why did James think sexual immorality and not eating blood from animals were more important laws than circumcision?
God’s part of the covenant with Abraham was to multiply Abraham’s seed with Sarah and give the Jews the land of Israel. In return, Abraham would circumcise Jewish males. But Sarah grew old, they lost faith in God, and Abraham forced himself on Sarah’s slave, Hagar. Circumcision became a reminder that Abraham broke God’s covenant and that we cannot fulfill God’s will without God. Men don’t want reminders of their weaknesses and wrongdoings.
When we have sex, we give part of ourselves that we can’t get back. Our libidos are high when we’re young—we don’t think about the consequences of our actions. Later in life when we find our true loves, we wish we could give everything to our spouses, but we don’t have everything to give.
God, by His grace, provided animals to eat. That’s why a prayer said at mealtime is called grace. An animal had to be sacrificed for us to eat meat, and God wants us to be grateful for His gift and know the animal’s life had value.
Jews sacrificed every animal they ate. God told them, “The life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar.” (Leviticus 17:11a) Do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life. You must not eat the life. (Deuteronomy 12:23) They were to slice the neck of the animal, drain the blood, and pour it beside the altar. (See Deuteronomy 12)
Life is in the blood. Jesus tells us in John 6:55-56: “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.” He held up his cup of wine at the last supper, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:27b-28)
Jesus gives eternal life. We drink his blood at the altar, a reminder of God’s saving grace.
Father, I praise You for the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus. He is the only one who gives everlasting life. Thank You for loving me so much that You sacrificed Your only Son. Help me pass on that love to others and fill myself only with the life of Jesus. In His name, I pray. Amen.