Have you ever had the impression that sacrificial blood was flowing everywhere in the Bible? In Old Testament times, animals were always being sacrificed. The aroma of a Texas Bar-B-Q must have been wafting through the air at all times. Discover why this matters to you in today’s message.
Sheep were likely the most prominent animals in Scripture. Lambs are mentioned from Genesis to Revelation. Here is a quick refresher. Baby sheep are called lambs. After they turn 1 year old, they are called sheep. An adult female sheep is a ewe, and an adult male sheep is a ram. Both sheep and lambs are symbolic throughout Scripture.
We see lambs being sacrificed as early as Genesis 4:4 when we read, “while Abel, for his part, brought the fatty portion of the firstlings of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering.”
A 1-year-old unblemished lamb in old testament days was destined for a short life span. His blood would soon cover an altar and his flesh would be a choice dinner menu item. Exodus 12:5 states, “Your lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.” On the fourteenth day of this month, it was to be slaughtered, its blood applied to the two doorposts and the lintel, and its flesh was to be roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
In Exodus 29:38-39 it is written, “Now, this is what you shall regularly offer on the altar: two yearling lambs as the sacrifice established for each day; one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at the evening twilight.” In Leviticus 17:11 we are told life is found in blood. Without blood, neither humans nor animals can live. Blood represents life and it was symbolically used to make atonement for the errant ways of the people. Each time blood was shed, it reminded the people of their own life and death.
In Jeremiah 11:19, and Isaiah 53:7, the Old Testament prophets foretold Jesus when they spoke of the “lamb led to slaughter.” Isaiah even speaks of Christ’s “suffering.” He foretells the messiah being struck down, pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. Ultimately, he tells us He will bear the punishment that makes us whole. God allowed these prophets to know that the Messiah would be the Sacrificial Lamb.
As a result of the aforementioned Scripture verses, there would have been no doubt in the mind of every Jew at the time of Jesus about the importance of the sacrificial lamb. Knowing this helps us understand just how significant John the Baptist’s words were in John 1:29 when he proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John was telling them to behold GOD!
In Revelation 5:12 we receive a confirmation of Jesus’ role in our salvation when we read, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.”
However, out of all the references to sheep and lambs throughout the Bible, I want to draw your attention to one very specific story. In Genesis 22:1-19 we read about God telling Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Both in trust and obedience, Abraham prepares to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac, not knowing he was to be the sacrifice, says to his father, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.” God did indeed provide the sacrificial animal for Abraham. He has also provided His only Son Jesus, as our sacrificial lamb.
Now let’s go back and look again at what John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus coming to him, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” In Genesis, Isaac was looking for the sacrificial lamb. John the Baptist found Him! John exclaims, “Behold The Lamb of God.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines behold this way, “to perceive through sight or apprehension and to gaze upon.” In other words, it means to see and observe.
Do we behold Jesus? Do we see and observe Him? Isaac was looking for the sheep. What are we looking for? Jesus was sacrificed for us! Through Him our sins and shame were nailed to the cross. Yet, too often we fail to see and recognize Him in our everyday life. Scripture is clear, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away our sins. He wants to be close to us. He wants to abide in us. Let’s behold Him and invite Him into our hearts in a deeper way. Let’s open our eyes to see what John the Baptist saw. We never again need to say, “where is the sheep” for we have found Him and placed our faith and trust in Him. Through Him we have been saved!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of Your Son. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! I place my faith in Him. Help me to draw close to Him and see Him every day. Amen!
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BLESSED BROKEN AND SCARED MEN’S RETREAT
Saturday February 17, 2024 St. Theresa Parish Belleview Fl.
9:00am –3:30 pm
Call Parish Office for details (352) 245 2458
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