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 2, 2014
The Slaughtered Lamb - Mid Week 5 - April 2, 2014 - Text: Isaiah 53:7
“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).
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. We began with the promise of a Savior and the first sacrifice made to clothe Adam and Eve. We continued by follow 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 again 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 focus our attention on the slaughtered lamb, the lamb that was lead to the slaughter with its mouth not open.
Throughout the Old Testament God reiterated His promise to send a Savior, a Messiah, a Redeemer. God first promised to send a Savior, a Redeemer to Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. At that time there was no Jew or Gentile, there was only Adam and Eve, people, human beings. God’s promise to send a Savior, a Redeemer was a promise to save all mankind.
As time went by, as history progressed, God remembered His promise to Adam and Eve, and it is not as if He had forgotten His promise, but for God to remember His promise means that it was brought to mind and was time to begin fulfilling that promise. So, out of all the people of the world, God chose Abram. It was not that Abram chose God, nor was there any innate goodness within him, it is simply that God chose him. God chose Abram, changed his name to Abraham and reiterated His promise to send a Savior, a Redeemer, however that is not all God did, He also narrowed down the family line through whom the Messiah would be born, namely through the offspring, the seed of Abraham. God then reiterated that promise to Abraham’s only son, Isaac and to his son, Jacob.
As time went on again, God again remembered His promise. After the children of Israel had been in Egypt and had been enslaved, God called Moses to deliver His people. God called Moses to bring His children out of Egypt. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments as well as the civil, moral and ceremonial laws for His people. God gave Moses the sacrificial system which foreshadowed and pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the cross. And God reiterated His promise to send a Savior through the line of Israel.
As Israel developed into a nation, God promised King David that from his family line the Savior, the Redeemer would be born. Even though David sinned, even though David’s grandmother was not an Israelite, but a Moabite, even through there were others not of Israelite descent in David’s line and ultimately in Jesus’ family tree, God’s promise continued to be that the Savior of the world would be through His family line.
As time moved forward, not only did God narrow the family line through whom the Savor would be born, but He also expanded and expounded the promises of the one that would be the Messiah, making sure that the One who would fulfill all that God spoke would be the One true Messiah. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said that the Savior would be oppressed and afflicted. Certainly we see this oppression and affliction in Jesus who was despised even by His own people, family and nation. He was afflicted with our sorrow as He took our sins upon Himself in order to pay the price for our sins.
Continuing to speak through prophet Isaiah, God said that the Savior would not speak in His defense and this is seen in the fact that at His trials Jesus did not defend Himself. Jesus passively allowed for the mock trials to take place and for the verdict of guilty, which is indeed our verdict that we are guilty of the sins that Jesus took on Himself.
Continuing to speak through the prophet Isaiah, God said that the Savior would be lead as a lamb to the slaughter. Jesus is the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. As the lamb was used in many sacrifices so Jesus is the very Lamb of God, the once and for all sacrifice as He allowed Himself to be sacrificed for us, taking the punishment for our sins upon Himself.
And, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God said that the Savior would passively suffer. Throughout His life Jesus actively obeyed all God’s commands perfectly. Throughout His life Jesus actively fulfilled all the promises and prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. And then freely He took all our sins upon Himself and passively, without fighting or struggling, allowed for the trials, the mocking, the beating and the crucifixion.
What does this mean? In the beginning God created all things out of nothing, perfect and holy. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and their sin brought a curse on the whole earth. God immediately stepped in and promised to send a Savior, a Redeemer for all people, of all places, of all times. Later God narrowed the family line of fulfillment of the promise and the whole while expanded and expounded all the things that the Messiah would be and do. For one person to fulfill all the Laws of God, all the promises and prophecies of God concerning the Redeemer the odds would be tremendously against such a thing happening. Yet, that One person is Jesus, truly God taking on human flesh being born as a truly human person.
Jesus began fulfilling all God’s laws and prophecies by being born of the line of Judah, thus being God taking on human flesh from the promised line of Abraham, Isaac, and King David.
Jesus continued fulfilling all God’s laws and prophecies being “ordained” into the office of Messiah at the age of thirty by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. It was John who pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world.” Jesus is the Lamb spoken of throughout Holy Scripture who, against all odds, fulfilled all of God’s laws, obeying all of God’s laws perfectly and all God’s commandments and all of the promises and prophecies of God, perfectly.
And as we heard in our text for this evening, Jesus took all our sins upon Himself and all the sins of all people, of all places, of all times on Himself, freely. And Jesus suffered, He was mocked, beaten, spat upon. He was truly oppress and afflicted and yet He did not open His mouth nor speak out concerning what was happening. He was lead like a lamb to the cross to be nailed on the cross for our sins and He died.
Jesus willingly suffered for our sins because of His great love for us. No greater love can anyone have for another person than to give their life for that person and that is exactly what Jesus did, He gave His life, His perfect life for us, for our imperfect sin filled lives.
Here again we are reminded that all the lambs that were sacrificed and slaughtered in the Old Testament were simply pointing to this one, once and for all sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ who came to take away the sins of the world. What great love our Father has for us, to take our sins, to pay the price for our sins and to give us the gift of forgiveness of sins and with forgiveness, life and salvation, which He gives to us through His means of grace. To Him be the glory for Jesus’ sake. Amen.