Thursday, August 02, 2018

The Lamb of God

Leviticus is a bloody book.  There are laws for burnt offerings, laws for peace offering, laws for  sin offering, and laws for guilt offerings.  Each having various sections detailing how to handle the sacrifice if it's from the herd, or the flock, or at times even a turtledove or a pigeon.  As you read the first chapters of Leviticus it can be overwhelming at times.  You may begin to wonder how there would be any living animals left among God's people.  The Law demanded bloody sacrifice upon bloody sacrifice.  In fact, Leviticus 6:13 makes clear, "Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out."  Sacrificing animals and laying them on the altar would be a continual occurrence in the life of Israel.

This is what the Law demanded.  Day after day, animal upon animal sacrificed to atone for the sins of the people.  It was a never-ending stream of slaughtered sacrifices because of the frequent faithlessness of God's people.

Only within this context can the weight be felt of what John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus coming. "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

Each phrase of that sentence thunders with meaning.

THE Lamb

Jesus is THE Lamb.  He's not a lamb or another lamb among the thousands that have been sacrificed.  He's THE Lamb.  There's something final in this arrival to which all other sacrifices have been pointing.

The Lamb of God

This lamb is from God himself. He will be the lamb that God lays upon the altar.  He will be the lamb slaughtered and sacrificed by God himself. God, having no sin of his own, is not offering this lamb for himself, but instead for someone else.

The Lamb of God who takes away the sin

This lamb will finish the job.  He is THE lamb from GOD and he will take away the sin.  There will be no sin left for which God's people must make a sacrifice.  There will be no sin left for which God's people must face the condemnation of God.  He will take it away finally and completely.

The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

This lamb isn't just for those who are of physical Israel.  This lamb will be for the sins of every tribe, tongue, and nation.  So, he is not just THE lamb for Israel, but the lamb for the sins of everyone who will turn to him in faith.

In other words, when John saw Jesus coming toward him, he proclaimed that the sacrificial bloodbath would be over with this lamb because his sacrifice is all that is needed for all eternity.

That's why Jesus cried out from the cross, "It is finished." He is THE Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and there will never need to be another.