There is a cry heard in heaven; the angels are astonished; they rise up from their golden seats, and they enquire, “What is that cry?” God looks upon them, and he says, “It is the cry of blood; a man has been slain by his fellow; a brother by him who came from the bowels of the self-same mother has been murdered in cold blood, through malice. One of my saints has been murdered, and here he comes.” And Abel entered into heaven, blood-red, the first of God’s elect who had entered Paradise, and the first of God’s children who had worn the blood-red crown of martyrdom. And then the cry was heard, loud and clear and strong; and thus it spoke: “Revenge! Revenge! Revenge!” And God himself, upstarting from his throne, summoned the culprit to his presence; questioned him, condemned him out of his own mouth, and made him henceforth a fugitive and a vagabond, to wander over the surface of the earth, which was to be sterile henceforth to his plough. And now, beloved, just contrast the blood of Christ with this. There is Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God; he hangs upon a tree; he is murdered—murdered by his own brethren. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not”, but his own led him out to death. He bleeds; he dies; and then is heard a cry in heaven. The astonished angels again start from their seats, and they say, “What is this? What is this cry that we hear?” And the mighty Maker answers yet again, “It is the cry of blood; it is the cry of the blood of my only-begotten and well-beloved Son!” And God, uprising from his throne, looks down from heaven and listens to the cry. And what is the cry? It is not revenge; but the voice cries “Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!” Did you not hear it? It said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
For meditation: Abel died, but through his faith he still speaks to us (Hebrews 11:4). Christ died and is alive for evermore (Revelation 1:18); He is always speaking for us, if we come to God through him (Hebrews 7:25).