BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD
"Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29
Throughout this "Holy Week" from Psalm Sunday to Resurrection Day there will be a multitude of services, rituals, convocations, processions and passion plays, all pointing us to the greatest sacrificial act in the history of the world, "The slaughter of the Lamb of God!"
While millions will dress in their finery, attend a church that many haven't been to in a year, promise their kids an Easter egg hunt, (derived from paganism) receive prizes and big screen TV's from pastors seeking to fill their sanctuaries with new tithers, while they forget what this week really means to a world lost in their sins and falling headlong into Hell! The Western church will reach a virtual feeding frenzy with all the spectators coming for their yearly pilgrimage to absolve their guilt from their lack of true devotion to God and by somehow thinking He will be pleased because they showed up!
Millions will leave their glorious church services teary eyed, but warm and fuzzy, while they go home and eat their ham and forget for another year what the Lamb of God had done for them. With all the hype, showmanship and endless festivities it is a wonder that anyone will hear the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and what was done to Him for us to inherit eternal life.
He was despised and rejected by men. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our sicknesses and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:3,4
AN UNBLEMISHED LAMB
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5,6
I grew up in the family business that sold equipment to meat packers and spent many an hour in the slaughter houses and kill floors of the Southwest. It is a horrifying thing to witness the slaughter of an animal, from the time they are stunned, their throats cut to allow the heart to pump out the blood until they are halved, quartered and cut up for distribution.
The sheep is the most memorable to me because they are herded up a ramp to the kill floor led by what is called a "Judas goat" with a bell around his neck, they follow him to the gate and he goes one way and they go to be killed. They rarely make a sound as they look into the eyes of the man who will cut their throat and then the process begins. I can only imagine the feeling of waiting to be executed as Jesus did after being inspected by the priests to find a blemish in this so-called Messiah, accused of calling Himself, Son of the Most High God.
From the garden to the cross the Lamb of God endured untold suffering, being beaten and whipped by the Romans and then led off to slaughter as a perfect sacrifice for us to whom the stroke of death was due. Jesus took the sins of mankind and bled in seven specific areas to give us a total and complete salvation, delivering us from our sins, iniquities and transgressions and healing our sicknesses and infirmities, we were spared from an eternal damnation prepared for the devil and his angels!
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. Isaiah 53:7,8
IT IS FINISHED
Yet it pleased the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul and offering for sin. He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My Servant shall pardon many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:10,11
The cross of Christ is the utmost instrument of death, a horrible way to die, nailed to a stake, only to succumb to suffocation by your own inability to breathe once the Romans broke your legs. Today we wear gold crosses around our necks as jewelry for people to admire but it would be like wearing a decorative electric chair in the face of the Lord Jesus who died upon that old rugged cross.
Most of what Western Christianity will do in this holiest of weeks will be of Pagan origin, forgetting the pain and suffering of the cross, instead celebrating something most no nothing of. This one selfless act of mercy and grace granted entrance for millions into eternity, forgiven of their sins and delivered from an eternal punishment, Jesus paid the ultimate price by becoming "The Lamb of God." The cross of Christ is the symbol for the believer to witness to the world what was done for them because of the guilt and the shame of their transgressions against a holy God who loved them and sent His Lamb to be slaughtered for them!
The death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ should be remembered as an unselfish act of mercy, just as someone sentenced to death would experience, being granted a pardon and set free from their crimes at the last moment. We as believers are responsible to testify to a lost world that Jesus died for them and rose again that they might repent and become New Creations in Christ! Will you proclaim the message of the cross to a dying world or will you be silent and hide from them the greatest act of mercy ever given to mankind by the sacrifice of "The Lamb of God?"
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, (going to Hell) but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. I Corinthians 1:17,18
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin