Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
The Lamb of God - Mid Week 6 - April 9, 2014 - Text: John 1:29
“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).
Our theme for this year focuses our attention on the main character of the Passion, even the main character throughout the history of Israel and the Christian Church, the Lamb. So far we have talked about the promise of a Savior and the first sacrifice made to clothe Adam and Eve. We followed God’s giving of the sacrificial system as a way of reminding people that the price for sin is death, that blood had to be shed. We saw the lamb as the main character pointing us toward the One Lamb of God and His once and for all sacrifice on the cross. We witnessed and will witness Jesus giving us His Holy Supper wherein He gives us His body and blood to eat and drink, thus participating in His life and His death. This evening we are again pointed to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Jesus.
As always a bit of a review is in order, which takes us back to the Garden of Eden and the curse and promise. God created a perfect world, a perfect man and woman and placed them in the perfect Garden He had created just for them. He gave them everything they needed and one command, not to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And we know the story, they disobeyed God, bringing sin and death as well as God’s curse on all creation. Yet, God immediately stepped in and promised a Savior.
After God chose Abraham and promised that through His family the Savior would be born, after Isaac and Jacob, after the children of Jacob, that is the Children of Israel went down to Egypt and were enslaved for many years, God stepped in to rescue His people and in rescuing His people He give them the Passover celebration.
As the Children of Israel moved out of Egypt and into the wilderness they continued to rebel against God. In order to help the children of Israel keep their focus on being God’s people and on being the family line through which the Savior of the world would be born, God gave them the sacrificial system, which continually pointed them to Jesus.
As we read through the Old Testament we can see quite clearly that the whole Old Testament points to the New Testament and especially to the one who would be and was born, the Savior, the Messiah, even the Redeemer, Jesus. All the sacrifices, all the promises pointed to the one who would trade His life, who would redeem His life for ours.
Finally, in the New Testament we do get to Jesus. Jesus was born of the line of Judah, of the line of King David. And although He was born in a rather obscure way, meaning in a small town in southern Judah, Bethlehem, where few people lived, and although His being born in Bethlehem happened because of a decree of an earthly king, yet we know that the prophecy of His line of birth was fulfilled. Certainly we see God’s hand in this birth and how as this one man fulfilled all the promises and prophecies of God He is indeed the One promised as Savior.
Jesus was true God in heaven enjoying all the glory that was His and yet, for our sakes and because of His great love for us, He gave up all the glory that was His. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit making Him truly divine, truly God and He was born of the woman, Mary making Him truly human.
When He reached the age of thirty, He presented Himself before John the Baptist for Holy Baptism. Of course, He was without sin and had no reason to be baptized, but for our sakes in order to identify as one of us, in order to be our substitute, He submitted to being baptized. It was John who recognized Him as the Messiah and thus announces, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
John’s word remind us of the fulness of the lamb. When God gave the Passover and the sacrificial system in the Old Testament we are instructed that the Lamb was to be whole and without blemish. The lamb was to be reflective of the one ultimate, once for all sacrifice, Jesus who was truly God and truly perfect.
In the giving of the Passover in the Old Testament it was instructed that the lamb was to be slaughtered and the blood was to be brushed on the door posts, up and down, and the lintel, side to side, indeed making the sign of the cross in order to make the house. Jesus, the once for all Lamb of God was slaughtered and hung on a cross where His blood was shed.
In the giving of the Passover in the Old Testament the Lamb was to be eaten, completely and if any were left in the morning it was to be completely burned in the fire. This was a meal eaten in haste as the children of Israel got ready and escaped slavery in Egypt. After their escape, as the children of Israel enjoyed their freedom in their own country, the Passover moved from being a meal eaten in haste to a meal enjoyed reminding of their deliverance.
In the giving of the Passover and the sacrificial system the family participated in the sacrifice by eating the lamb. Indeed, this oneness with the sacrifice meant the sacrifice became one with and a substitute for the one offering the sacrifice.
Fast forward to Jesus. As John so readily recognized Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus is the Lamb of God. Jesus is the Lamb that is whole and without blemish. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit making Him perfectly truly God. He had to be perfect in order to be what we cannot be, perfect and without sin.
Jesus was the Lamb of God who was born for one purpose, to die. He lived perfectly, obeying all God’s laws and commands perfectly, for Adam and Eve, for all of Israel, yes, even for us. He fulfilled all God’s promises and prophecies perfectly and then of His own free will, not by coercion, He took our sins upon Himself and suffered for our sins. He suffered the punishment for sin, death, eternal spiritual death of hell and physical death. He was crucified and died on the cross.
Yet, we know that death and the grave had no hold over Him. He rose victorious our sin, death and the devil. He ascended back into heaven from where He had descended. He sits at the right hand of God watching over us, ruling over us and interceding, praying for us. And even more, He gives us His Holy Supper where in we eat His body and drink His blood, in, with and under the bread and wine. It is this eating and drinking in the Lord’s Supper, this “doing this in remembrance of me” which is our participating in Him. Just as the family offered the sacrifice and ate the lamb, so Jesus offered Himself as the once and for all sacrifice and offers His body and blood for us to eat.
As we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we do eat His Holy Body in, with and under the bread and we do drink His Holy Blood, in, with and under the wine and thus we participate in Jesus sacrifice of Himself. Our oneness with Jesus through His Holy Supper means that His life becomes our life, His death becomes our death and His resurrection becomes our resurrection. Indeed, He is our substitute trading, redeeming His perfect life for our imperfect life and that is the reason He had to be truly human in order to be our substitute, trading life for life.
What great love our Lord has for us that He should become one of us offering Himself and His life for us and for ours. When God the Father looks at us He sees Jesus perfection and He is satisfied. When we look in faith to Jesus we see His life, death and resurrection and we are satisfied. Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! To God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.