July 22, 2018
Not only do we have a picture of the character of Christ in this appellation, but we also have a most impressive picture of His work in the world.
To the Jews who were accustomed to the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, a lamb was always connected in thought with a sacrifice. The highest type of sacrifice in the Old Testament was one that involved the sacrifice of a lamb. Naturally, then, when John thought of Christ as the Lamb, he thought of Christ as a sacrifice. It was certainly with this in mind that John pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God. He even goes further to explain what this sacrifice accomplishes---the taking away of the sin of the world. In order to understand this thoroughly we need to review briefly the Old Testament practice of sacrifice.
The whole system was based upon the principle that man in his sins was unable to approach a Holy God. There was a great chasm, sin, had separated man and his God. The problem of sin was settled in this typical way: At the specified time an innocent lamb was slain. His innocent blood was taken by the high priest and sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holy's as an atonement for the sins of man. Thus was symbolized the idea of the innocent suffering for the guilty, all of which was a foreshadowing of the shedding of the innocent blood of Jesus for the sins of all the world.
In this sense, Jesus takes the place of the lamb, yes, verily, He is this lamb in reality. Man cannot wipe away the guild of his own sin, he must find an atonement for his sins in the sacrifice of Jesus on Cross. This is the heart of the Gospel.
In referring to Jesus as the Lamb, John was pointing to Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb, the fulfillment of that which had been through all the years typified in the Lamb of the Jewish sacrifice. No longer is it necessary for the lamb to be sacrificed as a symbol of atonement, the real Lamb has come. He Himself has become once and for all the sacrificial atonement. In the Old System, the symbolic lamb must be killed repeatedly, but in the death of Christ the sacrifice is made once and for all, He is "the" Lamb of God. He is both the High Priest and the Sacrifice.
Next week ,I will cover the Eternal Sacrifice and Atonement.
Wayne McDoanld, Pastor