What jumped out at me about this passage of the Old Testament was the very specific command to the Israelites NOT to drink the blood of animals. This appears to have been a very serious offence to God. God said that if a Jew ate or drank blood he was to be “cut off”. Put bluntly, if an Israelite, a Jew, drank blood…he was finished as a Jew! He was to be cut off from the faith and the nation!
So why should they...good, devout Jews that they were...take an action which would make them accursed and outcasts by the Jewish faith, and follow this strange rabbi's instructions to drink blood...to drink his blood?
Because they knew as Jews that "life is in the blood". And these remaining faithful disciples (with the exception of Judas) believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the promised Christ, the deliverer of his people. They were sure that they were on the verge of a great uprising. Jesus would lead them to victory over Rome, and the glory of David would be re-established. These disciples had fought over who would be the greatest among them in this new kingdom. Do you think that they were going to miss out on being rulers in this new kingdom by refusing to follow Jesus' command to drink his blood? No way! They were willing to do whatever he said to be participants in this New Kingdom. He said that he is the Lamb of God, and if they believed it and wanted to participate in his kingdom, then they needed his blood for atonement. They committed the ultimate act of treason to the Jewish faith, because they believed that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises. "Life", eternal life would be in his blood.
- Matthew 26:28 Some manuscripts insert new