The flawless lamb

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A lamb is a young animal in a sheep or goat. My fondest childhood memories include two newborn fawn. My mother brought her to the nursery early in the morning. Very carefully, we children took them in our arms and stroked these fawn. One of the two became my favorite animal, it was adorned with two little shags at the throat. We had a lot of fun when they drank from the mother goat's udder and then made their high-spirited jumps.

1. Lambs as sacrificial animals

Lambs were offered as sacrificial animals very early on. In Genesis 4:4 we read that Abel slaughtered one of the first lambs of his flock and offered the best cuts of meat as a sacrifice to the Lord.

In the law, the sacrifice of male year-old sheep was part of the Passover instituted before the Exodus from Egypt:

The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. Exodus 12,13 (ESV)

The annual slaughter of the Passover lamb on the Passover festival thus became an unforgettable reminder of redemption from Egyptian slavery and at the same time a prospect of redemption through the sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ.

A reference to Isaiah's prophecy:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Isaiah 53,7 (ESV)

The lamb is an image of innocence, of infallibility, silent before its shearer. A fine type of Christ the Lamb of God.

2. Christ the Lamb of God is announced

At the age of 30, Jesus was introduced to his earthly mission by John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” John 1:29. John makes it clear that this Jesus walking by is the sacrificial Lamb of God.

Jesus performed great miracles, healing the sick, freeing the demoniac and helping the oppressed. After only three years of service, he becomes the Passover lamb himself.

3. Christ the Lamb dies

John emphasizes one thing in particular: "...which bears the sin of the world." The Greek word for bearing has a double name: it means to stand under it, or to carry away. Jesus did both.

After the scourging and condemnation, Jesus took the cross and carried it up to Calvary. There he took upon himself the sins of the whole world and thereby carried them away from our lives.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1. Peter 2,24 (ESV)

When the Baptist says that Jesus bears the sins of the whole world, he is indicating the scope of the redemptive power of his blood.

It's enough for all generations around the world! But whoever does not accept Jesus as the Redeemer will be eternally lost despite the death on the cross.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1. Corinthians 1,18 (ESV)

4. The offer

There is no other sacrifice here on earth that would suffice to take away our sins. No animal could be a perfect sacrifice for man.

It took a flawless man to be sacrificed in expiation for man's sins. Jesus is this spotless sacrificial lamb. He died for our sins on the cross.

Have you already accepted this offer?

Author: Egon Waechter

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