When Jesus walked the Via Dolorosa on His way to die for us on the cross, he was already bleeding profusely, leaving a trail of His atoning blood in the street. This was not the first time God walked alone along a bloody path for us. Jesus journey was the fulfillment of an event thousands of years earlier that pointed toward Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice.
The Bible is full of types and shadows, earlier events that point to a later event. Saint Augustine described this relationship between the Old and New Testaments when he said, “The New is in the Old contained; the Old is by the New explained”. The first portion of Hebrews 10:1 describes it this way, “the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things”.
You can see a shadow of Jesus’ work on the cross all the way back in Genesis 15. Take a moment and read Genesis 15:9-17. The act of covenant was a common event at the time. Leaders would pledge to each other and seal the pledge, or covenant, in blood by sacrificing animals. They would walk together through the blood, in essence saying, “If I violate this covenant, let what happened to this animal happen to me”. It was a way of pledging one’s life to the agreement.
In verse 17 God caused a deep sleep to fall on Abram and God proceeded to walk the bloody path alone. He was saying “I take the responsibility for your violation of our agreement upon myself”. True to covenant, God was willing to shed His own blood to appease the requirements of covenant, even though He wasn’t the one who violated it.