God called Abraham to offer his beloved son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. On the way to Mount Moriah, Isaac asked his father about the sacrificial animal. They had brought a knife and fire, but they did not bring a lamb with them. Abraham reassured him, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:7-8).
Later on in the history of Israel, on the eve of their redemption from Egypt, God told his people to choose lamb without blemish, kill it and to sprinkle the blood on the doorposts and lintel of their houses. During the night the Lord passed through the land of Egypt and killed the firstborn in every house, but he spared those who were inside the houses sprinkled with blood. The Jews celebrated this event every year by killing the lamb at the Passover feast. (Exodus 12:1-28).
Moreover, the Jewish priests sacrificed two lambs every day, one in the morning and another in the evening, throughout the year. (Exodus 12:1-28). The counteless lambs that were slain pointed to another Lamb yet to come. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would give his life as a sacrifice for sin, and that he “was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).
Finally God sent the Messiah as he had promised. “Behold the Lamb of God,” John said when he saw Jesus approaching, “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Jesus was offered on the cross. All who hide in him will be protected by his blood from the wrath to come. The Apostle Paul says, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7), and the Apostle Peter reminds believers that they were redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19).
All who trust in the Lord Jesus can joyfully say, “We are freed from our sins, we are redeemed, for Jesus, the Lamb of God, took away our sins and nailed them to the cross.” From every nation around the globe, Christians are witnesses to the fact that Jesus truly takes away the sin of the world.
The story ends in heaven with endless praise to the Redeemer, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelations 5:12). Amen.
(Gospel e-Letter - March 2018)