Behold, The Lamb
At this Christmas season I invite you to join me in taking a closer look at Jesus who is the heart and soul of Christmas as we
Behold the Lamb – John 1:29,
Behold the Man – John 19:5,
Behold My Servant – Isaiah 42:1-4,
Behold, Your King – John 19:13-15, and finally
Behold Your God – Isaiah 40:9
We begin our study of Jesus with John the Baptist’s introduction of Jesus to the Jews and to the world as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Why did John refer to Jesus using this term, “Lamb of God”?
The Lamb of God, whose blood is offered as a sacrifice for sin, is the theme of the whole Bible from Genesis through Revelation. The Blood atonement is the scarlet thread that run through the entire Bible from eternity past to eternity future. Remove the blood atonement from the Bible as the Liberals have done, and you have cut the heart and soul out of the Bible.
Much of modern Evangelicalism, though they teach and preach about Jesus, have swallowed the liberal’s message of preaching an emasculated gospel of the life and teachings of Jesus; but leaving out the central truth of the Gospel, the blood atonement of Christ as the propitiation for our sins. The truth is that God hates sin so much that He poured out His wrath on Jesus as He hung on the cross, so that those who trust Him can be saved from that wrath. They consider that truth too gory and too negative and too humiliating to preach. They cannot grasp that a holy God is infuriated by their sins.
That’s why every Gospel preacher must be tested by his attitude and attention given to the Blood of Christ. Those who ignore it must be recognized as under God’s curse, Paul warned in Galatians 1:7-9.
If you have never seen yourself as a wicked, guilty lost sinner facing and deserving the wrath of God in eternal Hell and if you have never seen the importance of Christ’s death on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins, then you have never been saved. You may have had a spiritual experience, but you’ve never been born again. If God is convicting you of your lost condition; if you will trust Christ as your sin-bearer, who died to save you from your sins, He will save you this moment.
How essential is the Blood of Christ for salvation?
Listen to God’s Word. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood: and without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by traditions from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” I Peter 1:18-19
Listen to the song of the redeemed in Heaven as you read Revelation 5:9-14. They magnify and glory in the shed blood of Christ. Will you be able to join the angelic host of the redeemed in Heaven as they glory in the shed blood of Christ? You won’t if you are not glorying in His shed blood as the atonement for your sins now.
Learn the following lessons concerning Christ, our Lamb.
I. THE SHEDDING OF INNOCENT BLOOD IS THE ONLY ATONEMENT FOR SIN.
Adam and Eve were created perfect and placed in the perfect garden of Eden; but with a freedom to obey or disobey God. He further warned them that they would die if they disobeyed Him in the matter of eating fruit from a forbidden tree in the Garden. Daily He walked and talked with them in perfect fellowship. God was not surprised nor caught off guard when they listened to the serpent, Satan, and chose to disobey God. God knew their choice and had provided a solution to the sin problem long before He created them and placed them in the Garden.
That solution was the shedding of innocent blood. After they sinned, they died spiritually and tried to hide from God; but God found them and confronted them about their sins. God saved them by slaying animals in their place, shedding the animal’s blood as an atonement for their souls.
Furthermore, God covered their nakedness with the skins of the animals He had slain. Prior to that time, they were not even aware of their nakedness.
At the same time, God declared war on Satan. That declaration of war is found in Genesis 3:15. It is the heart and seed bed of the Bible. It is the story of the whole Bible summarized in 28 words.
No sooner were they driven from the Garden of Eden when they began to have children. The first two sons were Cain and Abel. The parents taught the truths about a blood sacrifice to their sons. Abel recognized he was a sinner and he made the right blood sacrifice for his sins. Cain, filled with self-righteousness, attempted to show God that his sacrifice of part of the harvest from his fields was a much nicer sacrifice than Abel’s bloody sacrifice.
God accepted Abel’s blood sacrifice, but rejected Cain’s sacrifice of produce. As a result, Cain became angry and killed his brother Abel, the first martyr for his faith in God. Unbelievers have been hating and persecuting God’s people ever since. Where do you stand? Are you among the persecuted or the persecutors?
II. THE LAMB OF GOD PROPHESIED
Move forward to Genesis 22. There we read of faithful Abraham taking his son up to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, as a sacrifice in obedience to God. As they journeyed up the mountain, Isaac noted that Abraham had the wood, the fire and the knife, but asked, “Where is the sacrifice?” Abraham answered prophetically, ” God will provide HIMSELF a sacrifice. Two thousand years later God did just that by providing His only begotten Son, Jesus as the perfect, complete and final sacrifice for sin.
Now a young man, Isaac could have easily overpowered his father and gotten down from the altar, but he chose to stay there in obedience to the will of God. In this, he is a type of Christ who willingly hung on the cross to die for our sins.
As Abraham lifted the knife to plunge it into the heart of his son, God stopped him in his tracks. He had proven his faith in God and his willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice in obedience to God. God let him know he did not need to kill his son. Instead, God provided a ram caught in a thicket near by. Abraham sacrificed the animal instead of His son, Isaac.
Isaac was a type of Christ in that He was willing to be sacrificed by His Father. The ram is also a type of Christ in that it was a substitute sacrifice in place of Isaac.
III. THE LAMB OF GOD DESCRIBED
As we continue through the Bible in our study of a blood sacrifices, we come to Exodus 12 and the story of the first Passover. Israel is now in slavery in Egypt. They had been there for four hundred years. God calls Moses to deliver His people from the Egyptian slavery. That deliverance begins with the first Passover. In Exodus 12:5 we read the qualification for a passover sacrificial lamb. They perfectly describe The Lord Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
The Lamb had to be without blemish. See I Peter 1:18-19
It had to be a lamb in its prime of life.
It was sacrificed, that is, it was slaughtered. See Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 and the four Gospel accounts of the crucifixion of Christ.
This took place according to Exodus 12:2 &6 on the 14 day of first month of the Jewish year. That was the very day Jesus was crucified.
IV. THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB OF GOD APPLIED
As we continue reading in Exodus 12:3-13 we learn how the blood was applied.
First, the lamb was eaten by the household. Though we do not eat the flesh of Jesus in the communion service (the Eucharist) we do personally appropriate Christ through faith. In John 6:48-58 it would seem that we are to literally eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ; but Jesus clarifies what He means when in verse 57 and 63 we learn that we appropriate Christ in a spiritual sense, not a literal, physical, sense.
The communion bread and fruit of the vine are simply symbols of Jesus broken body and poured out blood. Taking communion does not save us, but as we trust in Jesus sacrifice for our sins on Calvary‘s cross, we are given the gift of eternal life. Taking communion is simply a memorial feast of the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. We do it in memory of Him.
Then the blood was splattered on the two side posts and on the upper post over the door. When the angel of death came through Egypt to kill all the first born in each household, the angel passed over the doors splattered with blood. When we trust Christ for salvation, His blood is applied to our lives, delivering us from death and hell.
Note, how the value of the blood sacrifices increase in value.
In the story of Abel’s sacrifice in Genesis 4, the blood of that lamb saved one person, Abel.
In the passover story in Exodus 12, the blood of the lamb saved a household.
In Leviticus 16, describing the Day of Atonement for Israel, the blood of the goat was sacrificed for the nation of Israel.
In John 1:29 we learn that the blood of Jesus is valuable enough to save all those who trust Him throughout the whole world and throughout human history.
V. THE LAMB OF GOD PERSONIFIED
In Isaiah 53:3-7 we learn that the Saviour of the world will be a man.
VI. THE LAMB OF GOD IDENTIFIED
As John the Baptist is preaching repentance and baptizing converts, Jesus approaches and in John 1:29 John points to Him and declares Him to be the Lamb of God come down to die for the whole world.
In Acts 8 the Evangelist Philip also identifies the person spoken of in Isaiah 53 as Jesus Himself. How can anyone reading Isaiah 53 miss Jesus?
The Book of Hebrews also identifies Jesus as our sacrifice for sin. Note especially chapter 7, 9 and 10.
VII. THE LAMB CRUCIFIED AND RAISED FROM THE DEAD
As you read the last chapters in each of the Gospels, you read of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Revelation 13:8 refers to Jesus as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It was God’s eternal plan to slay His Son as an atonement for our sins.
VIII THE LAMB GLORIFIED
We redeemed ones who have put our trust in Christ, glorify Him with our lives and in our worship here on earth. We do not glory in religion. We do not glory in our denomination. We do not glory in our church. We do not glory in our righteousness. Paul writes in Galatians 6:14 “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus is everything to us and Revelation 5:9-13, 21:22, and 22:1-3 reminds us that Jesus will be our glory throughout eternity.
A FINAL WARNING AND INVITATION
Each of us either receives Jesus as our blood sacrifice and Saviour from sin now, or else one day we will face the wrath of the Lamb at the great White Throne Judgment. Revelation 6:12-17 and 20:11-15. If you’ve never received Christ as your Saviour from sin, may this be the moment that you cast yourself on God’s mercy and receive Jesus as your Lamb, slaughtered on the cross for your sins, and raised from the dead for your justification.
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