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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).

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. 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 becoming our substitution for the penalty of our sins.

I think there is another lesson for us here about the Father's love for his Son. As the knife of Abraham is 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 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 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…." 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.


Jesus, The Lamb Of God Was Not

Selected By Man But By God Himself.

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? [2] For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. [3] He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:1-3)

Actually Jesus was in the end rejected by his people. Even the disciples who were walking to Emmaus expressed some doubt about Jesus being the one "…which should have redeemed Israel…" and was convinced only after Jesus in his post-resurrection ministry explained to them from the Old Testament scriptures how that the messiah had to first suffer the cross before becoming the conquering redeemer. Certainly, we see that John was right when he said that his own didn't receive him. That fact was the Jews of the day wanted political freedom but had no longer any need of a savior – the truth of the Pascal Lamb of God had long become a dusty old tradition that was part of their culture but certainly not their personal lives or relationship with Jehovah.

No. The Father and the Father alone chose Jesus as the Lamb of God. Read on.


The Suffering Lamb Of God.

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Isa 53:4

The first half of this verse is God's viewpoint – Jesus indeed, as the Lamb of God did bear our griefs and sorrows. The original for the word "borne" is used in many other passages as related to a person assuming the guilt of sin. The point is abundantly clear that the whole concept of Jesus Christ being the Lamb of God was wholly God's idea not man's. The second half of this passage is man's point of view. Rather than assuming that Jesus was assuming the guilt of our sins – we as mankind assumed that He was being judged by the law and by God (else why didn't He rescue His Son?). In the centuries old Feast of Passover the lamb was selected by special ritual and specification but, alas, it had become merely a ritual. There was no longer the reality of the Pascal Lamb dying for the sins of Israel.


But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5, NAS)

Jesus was pierced through (wounded) for our transgressions. This is a horrible picture of the agony of Christ on the cross. The Hebrew for being pierced through carries more than the meaning of being mortally wounded. It means to be utterly defiled – to die a shameful death. The piercing – the wounding is only the outward evidence of much more. Other passages refer to shame. Being pierced through would be the same thing as having one's reputation completely ruined by being falsely accused for a crime and then in a national spectacle dying for that crime.

Jesus was "crushed for our iniquities." Other passages in the Old Testament using this word refers to a nation that has been utterly vanquished. This is in reference to the mental condition of Jesus Christ while on the cross. His suffering was certainly a horrible physical suffering but that isn't the whole story. He suffered mental anguish beyond any human experience. I have often said that Jesus suffered the mental agony of hell for all of us – I still stand by that statement.


Jesus was "chastised for our well-being." This refers to the punishment aspect of God's judging Christ in our place. Because Jesus was disciplined, we may live in a sense of freedom from the guilt of our sin. Our sense of well-being is directly tied to this passage. The Lamb of God was defamed, his spirit was completely crushed and he was punished by God the Father – all instead of us.


Jesus was scourged for our health. Scourging was an skill by those who did it. Scourging could go all the way from being whipped so that one was extremely bruised or the Romans had learned the ancient skill of scourging so that one could be whipped so severely that his skin could be removed and the victim was still alive. In fact, it was considered a failure on the part of the one administering the punishment if the victim died in the process of being whipped. The victim obviously died eventually but the skill on the part of the one with the whip was to have him still alive after his skins was removed. This is certainly a gross picture of Jesus receiving the horrible punishment for our sin. The Precious Lamb of God was more than executed on the cross – He experienced both the pain of the cross and the horrible judgment of God for all our sins.


The Blood Of The Lamb Of God.

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, [19] but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. [20] He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (1 Peter 1:18-20) (NIV).

The Word of God clearly states that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. On the day of Passover, the spotless, perfect Pascal lamb was slit at the throat, the blood was caught in a vessel in the first Passover in Egypt was applied to the door post and lintel of each household of Israel. As a result of this obedience Israel not only escaped death but was delivered out of Egypt and was delivered to become a nation.

Peter makes the application to his friends and to you and me that it was this precious blood that became the means of our redemption.


The Irony of the Lamb of God.

The Pascal Lamb was picked out from among the flock. We learned earlier that The Lamb of God was to become man. But the name "Lamb of God" does not merely refer to his humanity. The Son of God was chosen to be the Lamb of God before the world was even created. God's Love for his precious Lamb did not begin at the birth of Christ. Please take note of the dialogue between Pilate and Jesus just before his crucifixion

"Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." (John 18:37).


Jesus said this while standing bound before Pilate about to be crucified as the Lamb of God. I take this as irony – just as was the irony of the placard that was placed above his head on the cross.

"And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." (Luke 23:38)

Actually, the question was in reference to his being a king. I think the Holy Spirit has introduced an irony in the dialogue – the irony of Jesus at once being the Lamb of God apparently bound and helpless and being the king not only of the Jews but of all kings having complete sovereignty over his whole creation – including his certain death on the cross. The irony continues on in Revelation 5:6. Let's keep reading.


"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."

At one hand we have "a Lamb as it had been slain." On the other hand the prophesy refers to Jesus Christ as "…in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders…"

There is, of course, no irony because this is the great plan of redemption coming to a focal point and the Word of God is merely pointing out to man what seems to be totally enigmatic. But from the point of redemption's view this is the natural course of events – before Jesus would assume the role of King of Kings he first had to assume the role of the Pascal Lamb of God and become the sacrifice for the sins of the world.

So there we have it – Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God, the Beloved Lamb of God, He was "hand-picked" by God Himself to be the Lamb of God and finally today He is Suffering and dying Lamb of God. Next time we study quite a different presentation of the Lamb of God.


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