Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Lamb of God

The subject of the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God is such a vast and beautiful subject. As I studied it, pondering what to share, several things came to my mine. First is, where to start and second how can I do justice to this great subject? We are really on such Holy ground. But with the Lord’s help I would like to share a few thoughts.

These verses in John 1:29-42 are the first of five pictures of the death of the Lord Jesus in the gospel of John. John 1:29 indicates that His death would be that of a substitute for sinners. In John 2:19 the destruction of the temple pictures His violent death ending in the victory of the resurrection. John 3:14 the serpent lifted up refers to the fact that the Savior would be made sin for us. John10:11-18, the Shepherd laying down His life for the sheep emphasizes that His death was a voluntary act based on love. Lastly, John 12:20-25 planting of the seed teaches us that His death would produce fruit to the glory of God.

This title “the Lamb of God” is the first of seven titles given in this chapter. The rest include Son of God, Messiah, King of Israel, Son of Man, Rabbi and Jesus of Nazareth.

I think it is interesting to see that out of all the books of the Bible, only in two is the Lord Jesus specifically called “Lamb of God,” and both times they are written by the same man, the apostle John. It is mentioned twice here in John and in Revelation. In the book of Revelation there are at least 28 references to the Lamb of God! More than any place else in the New Testament!

Concerning the Lamb, we see throughout the Scripture the strand of redemption is weaved all the way from Genesis to Revelation. The very first actual mention of the Lamb goes all the back to Genesis 4 when Abel offered to God the firstborn of His flock and God accepted it. It is very likely though, that it was the blood of a lamb that was shed in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve sinned against a Holy and righteous God and tried to hide themselves from Him. While hiding they tried to cloth themselves with fig leaves, which reminds us that our own works can not satisfy God. He shed the blood of an innocent animal and clothed them with its skin, again reminding us that we are now clothed in the righteousness of Christ!

Turning to Genesis 22, we read of a beautiful picture that is painted so vividly for us. There we see Abraham told by the Lord to go to Mt. Moriah and offer up his only son Isaac as a burnt offering to God. We all know this story of love and obedience. In fact it is the first place in scripture where worship, love and obedience are mentioned. We are reminded how the father and son went together. Isaac carried the wood and Abraham the fire and knife. We all remember reading of Isaac asking that all important question, “where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answering, “My son God will provide Himself the Lamb.” Notice he did not say a lamb, but the Lamb. Abraham might not have realized it, but God was looking down through the corridors of time to a specific Lamb that He had provided for Himself. The One in whom Revelation 13::8 speaks of as “the Lamb slain before the foundation on the world.” The Lamb that would satisfy is righteous demand and would bring pleasure to His Holy heart! As Abraham held up the knife, ready to plunge it into his son, God called out, “Abraham, Abraham, do not lay your hand on the lad.” Caught in the thicket by its horns was a ram, which is offered in Isaac’s place.

The Passover Lamb of Exodus 12 is another beautiful type of the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God. Judgment was about to fall on all of Egypt and they were instructed to take a lamb without blemish or spot and kill it. Then they were to take its blood and place it on the door post and all on the inside of the house would be saved! God had declared, “When I see the blood I will pass over!” We read in 1 Peter 1:19 that, “we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” The Lord Jesus, God’s Lamb was without sin, He knew no sin, He did no sin and there was no sin in Him. He was without blemish and without spot!

We are redeemed by the Lamb of God, but at what price? We have a glimpse of what he suffered in Isaiah 53:1-7. In verses 4-6 there are at least ten different expressions that are used that show some of the suffering of the Lord Jesus! Look at verse seven and remember how the Lord Jesus was silent before Caiaphas (Mt. 26:62-63), before the chief priests (Mt. 27:12), before Pilate (Mt. 27:14), before Herod (Lk. 23:9), and when the soldiers beat Him he didn’t speak (1 Pt. 2:21-23). As we read this chapter it ought to cause us to give praise to the Lamb of God!

Look back in John 1:36. I think it is significant to see how attractive the Lord Jesus is as the Lamb of God filled and led by the Holy Spirit. The way John writes it here we see the Holy Spirit descending upon the Lord Jesus and remaining on Him. Then on the next day John sees Him walking and describes Him as “the Lamb of God.” This time not as the One who takes away the sin of the world, but as the Lamb of God. God’s Lamb filled and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. John was so attracted by this sight that he would use five words to describe Him, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Even in the Greek it is five words. Five words were enough; even Paul would speak about using five words with understanding. John’s disciples understood those five words and were attracted to the beauty of Lamb and left John to follow the Lamb.

When we are captivated by His beauty, this will lead to us being overwhelmed with a new song in our hearts! This is what we read of in Revelation 5:1-10. Here we see the Lamb as though He had been freshly slain. Those wounds that He bares are not scares that have healed over. They are wounds that are fresh and for all eternity the value of that work and the worth of the Lamb will be seen!

Let’s turn to Revelation 19:1-10, here we see that wonderful day that await us, the marriage of the Lamb. It will be a wonderful day for us, but think what it will be for the Lord Jesus, The One who “loved the Church and gave Himself for her.” This will be that day that “He presents her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she will be without blemish!” The church, the Lamb’s wife will take on the character of the Lamb! No wonder the apostle Paul wrote, “I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2). Oh that we might make our selves ready, that we might be dressed “in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Notice that the real occupation at this wedding is not the Bride, but it is the Lamb! As the hymn writer says, “The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear bridegrooms face! We will be occupied with Him!

Let’s close by looking at Revelation 21:22-23. Here we have a vision of the Holy City. We are privileged to see a glimpse of the Lamb that takes us beyond time into eternity. There is no need for light there for the Lamb is its light. The glory of His person will radiate and illuminate the city. The glory of God in all it’s fullness will be seen in that blessed Lamb of God!

But beloved, we do not have to wait to start appreciating His beauty and glory! As we behold the Lamb of God, “ we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the same Spirit of the Lord.” “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

And as we behold him, may our hearts response be “even so come, Lord Jesus!”

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