Friday, September 7, 2012

Praise Jesus - the Lamb of God

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Why did John the Baptist refer to Jesus Christ as the "Lamb of God"?  As with most of Jesus' titles, the Old Testament background sheds much needed light.  John the Baptist was not just uttering something out of left field - he had specific reasons these words.  Today's blog will hopefully aid in understanding a little bit better the significance of this title.  Come with me as we journey through the scriptures to accomplish the praise of Jesus Christ - the Lamb of God.

Back to Egypt - The Passover Lamb
In Exodus 12 we see God instituting the Passover celebration on the Eve of the People of God's Exodus' from Egypt, across the Red Sea and eventual journey to Mount Sinai.  Since the days of Abraham they had been in Bondage of slavery for over 400 years.  After nine plagues, God was going to have the death Angel passover the land of Egypt to kill every firstborn son and animal.  The point of the Passover was to exempt any household from the plague, hence when the Angel would see the blood of the passover lamb applied to the door posts and gates, the Death Angel would "Passover" the house, leaving the baby alive.

At Mount Sinai - The Prescribed Lamb
In Numbers 9 it is over 12 months after Israel's flight from Egypt.  God is reminding them again of their need to celebrate the passover.  God had given a secific day - the fourteenth day of Nisan, or what would correspond to our April the fourteenth.  It was on that night that the passover lamb was to be roasted and eaten.  In fact, Numbers 9:3 and 5 in the NASB tells us that this was to be observed at twilight or, as the Hebrew reads, "between the evenings".

Prophetic Scripture tells us of the Messiah suffering as a Lamb - i.e the Predicted Lamb
Fast forward some 700 years later to Isaiah's day.  In Isaiah 53:7-10
we read this remarkable prophecy: "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth;  Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 8By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? 9His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. 10But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand."

At Mount Calvary - the Precious Lamb  
Therefore the Lamb spoken of in the Law of God and predicted in the Prophecies of the Old Testament would come to be fulfilled in the Person of Christ.  According to Mark 14:12, Jesus' crucifixion took place during the time of the Passover.  In fact, He was crucified "between the evenings" of April 14 and April 15, dying three hours before sundown on Friday April 15th.  Paul describes Jesus Christ as the believer's "Passover Lamb".  (1 Corinthians 5:7)

The last Book of the Bible - The Praised Lamb
The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, will forever be associated with what He accomplished in His first coming.  Revelation 5:6 describes Jesus as being "the Lamb who was slain".  In Revelation 5:8 we see the 24 elders, most likely representative of the saints of all ages, bowing down and worshipping Christ the Lamb of God.  In Revelation 5:12 we see both angels and men singing "worthy is the lamb".  Then the vision of Revelation 5 concludes with the Lamb being described as sitting on a throne, equal with God the Father in power and glory. 

So why should we praise Jesus Christ the Lamb of God?  Why was what John the Baptist first spoke about Him so significant?  Because Jesus Christ was pictured by the Passover Lamb, the Prescribed Lamb of the Mosaic Law.  Secondly, Jesus Christ fulfilled the predicted Lamb prophecies of Isaiah.  Thirdly, He is the Precious lamb of God who gave His life and shed His blood for you. (1 Peter 1:17-18)  Then finally, He is the Praised Lamb, as revealed in Revelation.  Let us praise the Lamb of God - Jesus Christ!