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, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 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)
Throughout the Bible a sacrificed lamb is used as a symbol of human redemption. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
When God led Israel out of Egypt, he gave them the worship practice of sacrificing lambs. Before the first Passover they were instructed: “take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses…” (Exodus 12:7). The blood became a sign for Israel to remember that the death angel did not invoke the death penalty of the firstborn in each house. And this wasn’t a one-time activity. God gave Israel a sacrificial system that involved the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly sacrifices of lambs.
In the New Testament the theme about lambs and sin continues. The apostle John records that when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, and when he died and rose for all human sin, the need for animal sacrifices—which had always pointed to him—came to an end.
The author of Hebrews attributes these words to the Holy Spirit: “‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin” (Hebrews 10:17-18). The same chapter tells us that the law, with its sacrifices, was only a shadow of the good things to come, not the reality. Verse 10 adds: By the Father’s will “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus once for all.”
The law pointed to Jesus. The apostle John records that “the Lamb was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). John’s point is that the sacrifice of Jesus was once, for all. That includes everyone who ever lived. Old Testament saints as well as New. In other words, the effect of Jesus’ sacrifice is just the same as if he were sacrificed in any time period in which human beings lived. We are saved today by the same sacrifice that saves human beings throughout all time. From the Garden of Eden to those who live today and those who will come after us, we are all under this covenant of grace, which spans all time.
Salvation comes by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He is both the Creator and the Redeemer of his Universe. I encourage you to live in the redemption he has given us!
Holy Father, thank you for the willing once and for all sacrifice Jesus made. His covenant of grace, peace and mercy, extended to all, enables us to live as Jesus lived, through Jesus in us. We ask humbly for the eyes to see the greatness of his work at work in us. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach