The unblemished lamb
By Rev. Martin Schoenfeld, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake
“The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” John 1:29
The children of Israel had been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. Generation after generation was born into slavery and died in slavery.
But God was faithful to His promises. The Lord delivered the children of Israel with His powerful hand.
He went throughout the land of Egypt to strike dead the firstborn male of every household. The Israelites would be spared only if they would put some of the blood from a lamb on the top and side of the door frame of their homes.
Then, when the Lord God would go throughout the land of Egypt and come upon a home with the blood of the lamb on the door frame, He would pass over that house, and the lives of those in that house would be spared.
This event, recorded in Exodus chapters 11 and 12, is known as the Passover. It would be the blood of the lamb that would cause the Lord from striking down anyone in the home of the Israelites.
But not just any lamb would do. In Exodus 12:5, we are told: “The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect. . . ”
This event of the Passover was very important in the lives of the Old Testament believers. But this great historical event of the Passover pointed forward to something much greater.
It pointed ahead to the Lamb of God, who would take away the sin of the world. Jesus is that perfect sacrificial lamb.
In 1 Peter 1:18-19, it says this: “For you know that it was not with perishable things, such as silver or gold, that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
Jesus is the perfect lamb without blemish or defect. Not one flaw could be found in the life of Jesus and yet, He went to the cross to suffer for sin.
Upon the cross, Jesus suffered for our blemishes and defects. He suffered for our failures and wrongs. Jesus shed His blood so that now, the wrath of God against sin may pass over us.
When we are cleansed with the blood of Jesus, we have the promise that God will not let us be struck down to the place of eternal death, but He will pass over us and grant to us life and safety for all eternity in heaven.
In a few weeks, we will be celebrating some very important days on the Christian calender.
On Maundy Thursday, Jesus will give to us His body and blood, shed for the forgiveness of all our sins (Matthew 26:26-28).
On Good Friday, we will behold the Lamb of God being sacrificed upon the cross for our sin.
On Easter Sunday, we will rejoice that God’s wrath against sin has passed over us and that we have been promised new life in paradise.
This month, as we continue our journey through Lent, behold the great love God has shown to you. Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, and trust in the one who has delivered you from your slavery to sin and set you free in Christ Jesus.