Lamb of God! What a beautiful, soft, gentle Name for Jesus, and it is our focus in the last of this Lenten series: Names of Jesus.
So, why is Jesus called the Lamb of God? As with so many theological concepts in the Bible, it begins in Genesis.
THE FIRST ANIMAL SACRIFICED BECAUSE OF SIN WAS IN GENESIS!
Adam and Eve sinned and realized they were naked. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, but that was not sufficient. The Bible tells us that God provided ‘garments of skin’ for the couple. (Genesis 3: 21) Was this the beginning of the sacrificial system for atonement of sin? Was it a lamb? Perhaps. After all, Adam and Eve’s son chose a lamb to sacrifice as an offering to God. Was he emulating what God had done years before?
GENESIS 4:4 RECORDS THE FIRST ANIMAL SACRIFICE MADE BY MAN.
Abel, Adam and Eve’s second son, brought an offering of his firstborn lamb while the older son, Cain, offered ‘fruits of the soil.’ Just as fig leaves were not sufficient to cover Adam and Eve, Cain’s offering was ‘too little too late’ so to speak. On the other hand, God was pleased with Abel’s offering.
Sin is so deplorable to God that blood must be shed to atone. Easy sacrifices are not enough! Do we take sin this seriously in our lives? Are we Abel or Cain?
PRECURSOR TO THE LAMB OF GOD?
Later in Genesis a lamb is sacrificed to save Isaac from death. You see God was testing Abraham and told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham’s faith was so strong he took his son to the altar; I think knowing that God would provide the lamb all along. Thus, when Isaac asked where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham answered: “God… will provide the lamb….”
THE PASSOVER LAMB
In Exodus 12 God instructs the people:
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect,
13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. (NIV)
A forerunner for Jesus? An innocent lamb sacrificed to save human life.
JOHN THE BAPTIST’S PROCLAMATIONS!
In John 1:29 as Jesus approached, John the Baptist exclaimed: “Look the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” (NCV)
And two of John the Baptist’s disciples left him to follow Jesus when this prophet, who prepared the way for Jesus, once again proclaimed: “Look, the Lamb of God” (John 1:36b)!
John knew that the Lamb of God would take away the sins of the world. And his Jewish background recognized that a blood sacrifice was needed for the forgiveness of sins. So, while we view the lamb as soft and gentle and comforting, also be cognizant that this aspect of our Lord’s character brought about the most gruesome horrific event both physically and spiritually for Jesus.
The innocent Lamb of God suffered to save us from the depths of hell by suffering the crucifixion. But the most harrowing part was taking on our sins and experiencing a time of God forsaking Him.
COMMENTS AND RESOURCES
Focus on Jesus during this Holy Week and recognize and be thankful on Good Friday for the sacrifice made for me and you.
Of course, as always, comments and prayer requests are welcomed and encouraged in the comment section below! If you do comment, I usually reply. Come back to check out responses or other comments shared.