Quest for Hope
Jesus the Lamb 2-12-16
Yesterday, we took an honest look at our hearts; we realized because of sin/selfishness we needed a heart for Jesus who is the Living Expression of selfless Love. How do we become a living expression of God’s love when clearly our lives tend toward sin/selfishness? How do we hold onto our Hope when we recognize this reality? In our passage this morning, John the Baptist points to Jesus in the crowd and says, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Why did John call Jesus the Lamb of God?
Let’s go back to the story of Israel, because the descriptive title, Lamb of God, is very Jewish. Remember, the lesson from Israel’s exodus from Egypt? Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and would not let God’s people go—Pharaoh (seen as king of this world) kept them bound in slavery. God sent all kinds of plagues to encourage Pharaoh’s cooperation, but nothing really caused Pharaoh to change his mind and follow the Lord’s command. Pharaoh selfishly wanted to hold the Jewish people in slavery to better himself and his way of living. The last plague God sent was a game changer in Pharaoh’s choice to resist the work of the Lord. After midnight, God swept over the whole land of Egypt and he took the life of the firstborn offspring (human—even Pharaoh’s firstborn—and animal alike). Everyone was affected except the Israelites; they had followed God’s instructions for protection which involved a lamb…a Passover Lamb. God told the Israelites to slaughter a lamb and smear its blood on the top and both sides of the doorframe to their homes. When the angel of death came to Egypt, he would see the blood of the lamb on certain doorposts and would pass over them; salvation from death was made possible by God. Let’s now go back to today’s scripture.
John the Baptist was identifying a Lamb who would allow his blood to be spilled on the wood of a rugged cross—the doorposts to heaven—for the salvation of the world. The firstborn Son of God would give his life so the children of humanity could be spared death and live in the kingdom house of heaven.
Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world; God no longer remembers our sin because we are covered by the blood of the Lamb. If you have asked the sacrifice of the sinless Lamb to cover your life, then God sees Jesus every time He looks at you—you are smeared by Grace. When God calls your name, He sees a beautiful child ready for His mission in the world; the mission of sharing the redemptive Good News that humanity is given the opportunity to be saved by the selfless Lamb of God. That news should stir our hopes, today!
Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Jesus, the Lamb, to give his life on my behalf. Thank you, Jesus, for shedding your blood and smearing my life with your purity and selflessness. Help me, Holy Spirit, to grow into Christlikeness beneath the surface in my soul. Change me from the inside out. In Jesus’ name. Amen.