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The Lamb of God, God's Beloved.


The Delight Of God In His Son.

Our next lesson might seem to be a bit off the trodden path but it is one that has been on my heart for some time. As we consider the subject of God's beloved Lamb, Jesus Christ, my main objective is to somehow impart to you the great investment of His heart the Father has put into the plan of the redemption of man. It is easy for us to quote "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…" but we should never forget that the decision for the Trinity to put in action Redemption was of enormous consequence. We often put God into a sort of passionless "I have complete control, I am the divine Sovereign" role that we forget that He took great delight in his Son. The love between the Father and the Son was infinite but not selfish. Thus, we have the eternal drama of an arrogant, sinful man, shaking his fist in the face of God and a loving God who has planned in eternity past to go the limit to redeem man at great cost – the cost of pouring his wrath for all the sins of mankind upon his beloved Son in whom He delighted, the Lamb of God.

The Pascal lamb was the object of great care to the Jewish household. Dogs and Cats were not the ordinary "pets" in their household. Many times livestock became the pet. There is an unusual account of this in 2 Samuel 12:3.

"but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him." (NIV)

Here the young lamb was literally a part of the household. Now, this is not exactly the picture of the Pascal lamb, but the attachment that the household would have developed portrays an image that we should not overlook. We should not make this image "walk on all fours" as my theology professor used to say, but the emotions that we all might share with our most precious pets should help us to understand the role of the Lamb of God as his relationship to his Father.


Jesus Was Introduced To The World
By John The Baptist As The Lamb Of God

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (KJV)

There were many titles that John could have used but he chose as Jesus' title, the Lamb of God. The atoning work of Christ came immediately into view with this title. Jesus was to take away the sins of the world. The people standing there should have really scratched their heads over that title. The popular view of the coming Messiah was largely one with political overtones. Yet John was careful to point out that Jesus had a work to do before he was to become the king of kings. Don't lose your place here, but turn to John 12:27, 28, 32.

"Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. [28] Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again…. [32]And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12:27-28 (KJV).

From man's point of view the Messiah was to free the Jew from Roman oppression. However, from God's redemptive plan Jesus had to first take away the sins of the world. The way he was going to accomplish that was to become the fulfillment of a Jewish Feast that had been practiced for centuries - the feast of Passover, the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. When Jesus said that he had to be lifted up from the earth, he was referring to the Cross. Even in this moment of dread that Jesus felt, he knew of the love that his Father had for him. The Father, indeed, was going to be glorified for his Son was going to be obedient to redemption's plan – even though it meant the Cross.

Lenski makes an important observation about Jesus' revelation of his feelings in verse 27.

"Jesus is not addressing the disciples and the bystanders. This is a monologue, uttered before a higher presence; yet uttered audibly for those at hand to hear. They are granted a glimpse into what transpires in the soul of Jesus…."  1

Jesus was not going to be afforded the graces that every believer receives at his death. No. Jesus was going to experience the utter terror of the deaths of all the sinners of the world! He truly was going to receive all the bruises and stripes of sinful man. 2 This was abhorrent to Jesus so he did what was quite natural to him – he spoke in the presence of his Father. I cannot be as eloquent as Lenski about the Lamb of God's feelings:

"The sinless, holy Jesus, God's only-begotten Son was to stoop beneath the damning guilt of the world and by his own death as a man to expiate that guilt. Thus was his soul shaken in this hour."  3

The Heavenly Father responded to his expression of soul-agony with an audible voice that sounded like thunder to some around him but there's no doubt in my mind that the Son and the Father were communing with each other – the fact was that the Father was, in love, encouraging his Beloved Son – the Lamb of God. Jesus said that the audible voice of the Father was not for his benefit but for those around him. I believe that he was referring to the glory of the heavenly conversation that was evident to those around him. No quiet communing between the Son and the Father – no. The Father responded without hiding his glory so that the others would know without doubt that the Lamb who was about to be sacrificed for the sins of the world was truly beloved by the Father.

This was so because many would draw the false conclusion that Jesus had been abandoned by God while on the cross. Indeed, while Jesus was crying with a loud voice Psalm 22:1 – even in that darkest of moments, those surrounding the cross should have remembered that further down in that Psalm that Jesus knew that his Father loved him very much. Jesus knew that even in the loneliness of the cross – even though he in his humanity felt abandoned, he knew that his Father loved him, the Lamb of God.

"Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. [10] From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God." Psalm 22:9-10 (NIV)

So it is clear that Jesus was to become the sacrificial Lamb – the one that was the fulfillment of all the slain Pascal lambs of centuries, yet, let us not lose sight of the fact that at the same time there was a great love between the Son and the Father. Psalm 22 says that Jesus' humanity trusted in his Father from birth. That is a remarkable fact. We as sinners have to be wooed by the Father. Jesus did not need that wooing – he already had a wonderful relationship with his Father.


The Father's Introduction Of Jesus To The World.

John in his remarkable prologue pointed out this divine connection of love when he said that the Word was with God. Literally with means that the Son and the Father were face to face with each other. When Jesus was baptized the Father said of him; "…and a voice came from heaven, which said, 'Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.'" (Luke 3:22b, KJV). This is how the Father was to introduce his Son to the world. Even though Jesus was to be the Lamb of God – just as the Pascal lamb was frequently beloved by the Jewish family - much more so the Son was beloved, but nevertheless destined to be sacrificed for the sins of the world.


Jesus Is The Only-Begotten Son.

John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (NAS).

There are two images that converge into one here. First, the only begotten does not refer to the humanity of Jesus but to his divinity. The image here does not point to a "beginning" that the Son might have had in eternity past, rather it points to the very special relationship between the Father and the Son. One of intimacy, a love that can only be shared between a father and a son. A father may have more than one son but an only begotten son is the special one – the one to which the father takes special care. The other image is found in the word "bosom." The usage in the classical Greek and in the Septuagint depicts a son who is sitting in the folds of the father's clothing (remember, men in biblical times didn't wear jeans). The meaning in this passage is that of the son not merely by the father's side but one of remaining in the father's heart even though the son may be thousands of miles away or in the case of the Lamb of God even though He was to take upon Himself the wrath of God for our sins.

From the point of view of the redemptive plan of God Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of God. From the Father's point of view, Jesus was the Beloved Lamb of God who was to be sacrificed. Certainly destined to become the sacrifice for our sins – but let us never forget the infinite love the Father had for the Son – even while he was pouring out his judgment upon Jesus – he yet loved Jesus with infinite love.


God's Great Lesson On Love And Sacrifice.

"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. [2] And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (KJV). Gen 22:1, 2

Abraham had another son but Isaac was his "only" – that's how the Hebrew puts it. Literally, the Hebrew reads, "Take your son, your only, whom you love,…" God is going to "test" Abraham. I really do not think that God had some reservations about Abraham's faithfulness with God. No. The fact was that, according to the New Testament book of Hebrews this was to be an object lesson on the Lamb of God. God's word does not mention any feelings on Abraham's part – The test was this - I believe that the heart of Abraham ached at the thought of having to kill his "only." Yet as the New Testament account has it, Abraham's faith "kicked in" and he obeyed God's apparently outrageous command believing that He could raise Isaac from the dead.  Thus, we have a wonderful lesson of Christ, the beloved Lamb of God becoming our substitution for the penalty of our sins. 4

I think there is another lesson for us here about the Father's love for his Son. As the knife of Abraham was poised above the breast of his "only," we have at that moment in time a snapshot of God's love for His Son and his willingness to send his "only" to the cross for you and me

The lesson of the Father's great love for his Son and the lesson for Christ's role as the Pascal Lamb certainly comes into view. At once we have the tremendous moment of love and substitution coming to one focal point in history. Abraham's love for his "only" – the ram caught in the thicket becoming the substitute – all at once! Surely we cannot escape Abraham's great love for his son but, at the same time his willingness to sacrifice his "only" and the fact that the ram was slain as substitute.  What a glorious image of the sacrificial Lamb of God and the Beloved Lamb!


Jesus States The Oneness of The Father And The Son.

John 14:10-11 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. [11] "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves. (NAS).

We need to focus on one word in this statement of Jesus to bring the whole into focus. Look at the word "abiding" here and "dwelleth" in the KJV. The word used here is not the one that one would use for being physically within something, or in this case, someone but suggests relationship. The oneness here is of the heart – the oneness of purpose, of living "…in perpetual union of purpose and will with the Father…."  5  This infinite oneness between the Father and the Son never wavered even on the cross while Jesus was crying in a loud voice "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me…" At that moment the love between the Father and the Son was of enormous intensity and was communicated for Jesus had, in His agony recited the very Psalm that reflected his feelings of the moment and yet testified of his trust in his Father.

Jesus the Lamb of God was to be sacrificed – yes – but just as Abraham's heart must have raced with intensity – so there was a divine intensity of love between the Father and the Son while Jesus was dying on the cross for you and me.

I cannot help but ask the question to anyone who is here without Christ.  Do you not sense the great investment of love God has put in sending His only Beloved to the cross to die for your sin?  Please consider that He loves you with that same love.   God is calling you right now to give your heart to Him.  Receive Jesus Christ to be your personal Savior - receive Him into your heart.

1. Interpretation of John's Gospel, Lenski, pg 868.  [Back]
2. Isaiah 53:5.  [Back]  [Look up scripture]  Press your browser's Back button to return here.
3. Interpretation of John's Gospel, Lenski, pg 869.  [Back]
4. Heb. 11:17-19.  [Back]  [Look up scripture]
5. The Complete BIBLICAL LIBRARY, John volume, pg 399.  [Back]


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