Behold The Lamb of God
… John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
Abraham and Isaac must have been dumbfounded as they trekked up the mountain where they would build an altar and make a sacrifice. They brought wood, a coal to light the fire, and the other necessary tools, but no lamb.
When Isaac, Abraham’s son, questioned why they did not have a lamb, Abraham replied, “God will provide.” Genesis 22
Abraham had been asked by God to sacrifice his son. As a parent, I have never been able to get my mind wrapped around this part of the story. The climb up that mountain had to be torture, knowing what was to come. But Abraham did not question God; he made the journey in faith, knowing and believing the promises God had already made to him. (Hebrews 11:17-19)
As he laid his son on the altar, he heard it, God telling him to stop and not lay a hand on the boy, and he heard a ram rustling in the bushes.
I can only imagine the relief Abraham felt when he heard the ram bleating, there right in front of him and as he released his son from certain death. Abraham believed God and it was counted as righteousness. Genesis 15:4
He was called to sacrifice but only required to surrender.
Abraham was so overwhelmed with gratitude that he named the mountain “Yahweh Yireh” or “Jehovah Jireh” which means the Lord will provide. To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Genesis 22:14
In the Old Testament, to make amends for sin, to worship, and for purification, individuals and families would bring a sacrifice of a pure, unblemished lamb. The most well-known story of this is when the Israelites were asked to sacrifice a lamb and put the blood on the door post to show their obedience and to protect them as the “death angel” descended and passed over Egypt. The celebration of “Passover” began then and is continued today as a remembrance of God’s deliverance.
“In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22 (NLT) Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us. I Corinthians 5:7 (NLT)
Forty-two generations after Abraham, God sent another sacrificial lamb, His son Jesus.
Jehovah Jireh saw the way things were going in the world and wanted to provide a new way and new covenant for there to be forgiveness and reconciliation. On another mountain, He provided a perfect lamb that would end the need for sacrifice once and for all time. He gave us His precious son to pay the ultimate price for sin, past, present, and future.
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:14-17 (NLT)
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17
In a conversation with my middle-grade Bible study girls, I asked them what was the same and what was different between the ram Abraham sacrificed and Jesus, the Lamb of God, who died on the cross. They enthusiastically started throwing the answers out. Both provided a “blood offering.” The ram nor Jesus did anything to deserve death. It was clear to the girls that the ram only provided atonement for one man and his family, but Jesus’ death on the cross provided the sacrifice for all mankind. Also, the ram died and stayed dead. Jesus conquered sin and death and rose from the dead on the third day and lives still today.
And when God counted him (Abraham) as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. Romans 4:23-25 (NLT)
Sometimes, as adults, we get caught up in the details and culture of the Gospel. We can think we are so sinful that we are unredeemable or that we are good people and don’t need saving. Then we forget the simple truths contained in the Gospel: We have all sinned. God loves us. Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again so we can have life, life more abundant. (Romans 3:23-24, John 3:16-17, John 10:10) All we have to do is trust in Him alone for our salvation.
If you haven’t already, please receive this precious gift of salvation today. If you already believe, I pray that you truly have a life more abundant and full of the peace that passes all understanding.
I hope you have a blessed celebration of His Resurrection this Sunday.
He is Risen!
Used with permission from Keri L. Willis.