Sunday 18th April 2021

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In John’s gospel, we read about John-the-Baptist describing Jesus as ‘the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ This title connects with worship in ways which aren’t initially apparent to us, but 2,000 years ago everyone knew that when you went to the temple to worship, you offered a sacrifice. Whether you worshipped the God of Abraham or one of the many Greek or Roman gods, the word worship would NOT bring to mind an image of people singing, but of people sacrificing animals – usually lambs.

Back then it was a mystery to both Jews and gentiles that the people who said they worshipped the risen Jesus Christ, didn’t offer him any sacrifices. For us, the idea of sacrificing an animal as our worship of God is very foreign notion, yet this idea is there throughout the bible. It was already a common practice when Cain and Abel became young men.

Jesus, being referred to as ‘Lamb of God’ has a strong connection with How God revealed himself to be the God of salvation, through Moses. It connects to when the descendants of Abraham had become slaves in Egypt. God had sent nine signs to show that he is the living God who endures forever, but each time Pharaoh had refused to acknowledge they were from God. So, God brings salvation to his people in a startling act of judgement. To be saved from this judgement and to know God’s salvation, people needed to do what God asked them to do, instructions listed for us in the bible. Read Exodus 12: 3-13

On the night of the 15th day of the 1st month of the Jewish year, God would bring judgement on every household which hadn’t followed his instructions, but every household which had put their trust in God’s promise and carried out his instructions would be saved from judgement. Whenever God saw the blood of the sacrificed lamb on the door-posts, he would literally "pass over" that house. Every year since then, the Jews have celebrated Passover, an annual reminder that God is the living God…who performs sign and wonders in heaven and on earth and who rescues and saves – through the blood of a lamb!

God continues to be the living God who rescues and saves through the blood of a lamb, but we no longer need to offer up a sacrificed lamb, because 2,000 years ago there was a perfect, sinless sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice – and we simply need to put our faith in this ‘Lamb of God’ for us to know God’s salvation,

It was while Jesus and his disciples were remembering ‘Passover’ and how the broken body and shed blood of a lamb brought their ancestors salvation and freedom from slavery that Jesus takes bread and wine and gives the disciples a way of remembering another sacrifice, a sinless, perfect sacrifice. A once and for always sacrifice.

Some people get very confused as they try to work out how the blood of someone who died 2,000 years ago can wash away the sins we have committed today. The answer to that dilemma is given in lots of places throughout the bible – but we can see clearly see it in today’s bible reading

How did the blood of a lamb displayed on the doorposts of a house save people? It saved them because God said it would! The blood was a sign that the people had put their faith in God’s promises.

Sin is an offence against God, so God is able to set the rules as to both what the punish is and also how to be saved from that punishment. God’s decision is that when sin is committed, a death has to occur to show the seriousness of disobeying God’s way of living life.

In the Old Testament we read how the Israelites could find salvation, be saved from the consequence of sinning, through offer up the death of a lamb, but in the New Testament we have the perfect, sinless death of Jesus Christ and God states that those who put their trust in Jesus’ death being the death they should face, will know salvation – be saved from the consequences of their sin.

These lyrics can help us to thank God for his gift of salvation. A gift freely given to everyone who puts their faith in Jesus, the ‘Lamb of God.’

There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God's own Son, precious Lamb of God, Messiah, holy One.

Thank You, O my Father, for giving us Your Son, and leaving Your Spirit till the work on earth is done.

Jesus my Redeemer, name above all names, precious Lamb of God, Messiah, O for sinners slain;

When I stand in glory, I will see His face, and there I'll serve my King for ever in that holy place.

(Melody Green © Word Music UK)

Page last updated: 21st April 2021 7:05 AM