Jesus: The Lamb of God
Jesus: The Lamb of God
From the time of the Fall, when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, men offered sacrifices for sin. It has long been a fascination of mine that the Chinese character for righteousness used by the Japanese is made up of two characters. The character for lamb is positioned over the character for me or I. I believe this reflects the fact that all humanity is from one family — the family of Noah descended from Adam, and therefore, we all have the history of a lamb being sacrificed for sins in our ancient past.
When God established the national law of Israel through Moses, He established a system of sacrifices that included the daily offering of a lamb for the sins of the nation. These things looked forward to the coming of the promised Messiah.
Then Jesus was born.
For thirty years, Jesus grew up in obscurity, hidden from the public eye. But when it was time for Him to begin His public ministry, He went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. When John saw Jesus coming to him, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 ESV) To the Jews, the idea of a lamb taking away sins would have made sense.
However, to us living in the 21st century, it is not as clear because we have never seen animal sacrifice. The Scriptures are clear:
... without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22 ESV)
This is a harsh law. But consider the realities of our world today. Death, disease, theft, murder, and all manner of evil are in this world because of sin. The law is harsh because of the seriousness of sin. We are not in touch with the seriousness of sin if we think the punishment does not fit the crime. But God, because of His great love and mercy, has provided a way for us to be free from our guilt and saved from our punishment.
Isaiah 53 prophesied this deliverance 700 years before it took place when it said:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV)
Jesus took all our iniquity on Himself. The suffering of God’s own son on the cross is the picture of the punishment sin deserves. But God gave His Son to pay that price.
The legal transaction is described in the following way.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14 ESV)
Because of the death of Jesus on the cross, we no longer practice animal sacrifice. As we are told in Hebrews, Jesus’ sacrifice was a once for all deal.
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, (Hebrews 10:10-12 ESV)
This is the meaning behind John 3:16 when it says that God gave His only begotten Son. God demonstrated His love by giving His Son to die for us. This is why Jesus is called the Lamb of God.
Have you believed in Him? Have you asked Him to be your Savior?
Good Friday is the day we remember the death of Jesus on the cross. It is the day we remember the sacrifice that paid our debt and freed us from the guilt of our sins. Because of this, it is appropriate that we celebrate the communion on this night.
This is what Paul said about the communion:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ESV)
The broken bread represents the broken body of our Lord, and the juice represents the blood of our Lord. The importance of this simple act is found in the 1 Corinthians 11:26. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”
With this act we are proclaiming to the world that we have put our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation.