Day 7: The lamb
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
Some of the glimpses we get of Christ in the Old Testament are in the form of prophecies, and others are in the forms of types. A type is a shadow, a symbol of some truth about Christ that will be revealed in the New Testament.
One of the types God introduces early in His revelation of His redemption plan is that of the lamb or sheep. From the outset mankind seems to have understood that a blood sacrifice was essential for forgiveness. We don’t know if God explained it when He killed the animal(s) to make the covering for Adam and Eve, but we see by the worship of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, that Abel’s offerings from his flocks were the ones God accepted.
J. Sidlow Baxter has an insightful outline for how God unfolds His revelation of the meaning of the lamb. He suggests that in Genesis 4:3-7 we see the necessity of a lamb. When God saves Isaac from being sacrificed, we see His provision of the lamb. In Exodus 22:21 it is emphasized that the lamb must be slain. Leviticus stresses that the lamb must be perfect, unblemished. In Isaiah 53 it is made clear that the lamb is a person. And John the Baptist declares that Jesus is that person, as he points out Jesus to his followers. Acts 8:35 reveals that this Lamb is also the promised Messiah, and Revelation shows us that the Lamb who was slain is enthroned and reigning.
Hebrews interprets for us that it is not all those slain lambs that actually forgave our sin, “It can never, by the same sacrifices offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship” (Hebrews 10:1). But, as a shadow of the good things to come, the lambs point to the Lamb, whose sacrifice once and for all brings us complete forgiveness of every sin.
• From your knowledge of sacrificial lambs, how was Jesus the perfect and only fulfillment of this type?
• Think about how God unfolded the revelation of the necessity of a lamb, all the way to Jesus being the Lamb. What does this tell you about the mind and heart of God? Do you understand the depth of your need?
• Jesus was the Lamb before the beginning, and will be forever (Rev. 13:8; 5:13). What does this mean in terms of how Heaven sees the Lamb?
Lord, Your wisdom and mercy are so evident in how You revealed that I need a lamb. You have provided that Lamb, because I could in no way save myself! Apart from Him, I have no hope. Increase my understanding and joy, and my desire to be with the Lamb forever. Help me to worship the Lamb from a new depth of understanding and awe.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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