The Mighty Lamb of God
John the Baptist calls out to the crowd when he sees Yeshua (Jesus) coming toward him, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Why did he call Him the Lamb of God? The requirement of a sin offering for a High Priest or for a community was a bull, not a lamb; maybe an individual offering for sin might be a lamb, but Yeshua was dying for the world at most and His community at least, so a lamb would not have been the required animal for this kind of sacrifice. So why did John call Him the Lamb of God?
I would say that John had visions of Passover. Leviticus 23:5: “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.” At the first Passover, the lamb was slaughtered, and its blood was smeared upon the doorpost, and the death angel passed over that house on the night of the Lord’s Passover. It was here that God redeemed His people. After 400 years of slavery, God set His people free, and they departed from Egypt as free people. Every year after that at Passover, a lamb was slaughtered, and the people were required to eat the lamb at the seder meal. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:7, “Clean out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also was sacrificed.”
This was not a sin offering, but in actuality it was a peace offering, a shelamim in Hebrew. The word shalom means peace. Ephesians 2:14 tells us, “For He (Yeshua) Himself is our peace.” The peace offering was a voluntary offering. Yeshua tells us in John 10:17-18, “No one has taken it away from Me (My life), but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again.” Even though the Passover Lamb was never offered for sin or for forgiveness, it was made in thanksgiving or in gratitude in response to God’s favor. So in some respects, the sin offering reconciles us to God which brings us peace. Yeshua, who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf to reconcile us to God and bring us peace and eternal life (Romans 5:10, 1 Corinthians 5:18). Yeshua freely laid down His life for us, an innocent lamb without blemish; and His shed blood redeemed us (1 Peter 1:19, Revelation 12:11) and delivered us from the kingdom of darkness (Egypt, Colossians 1:13).
Because Yeshua is our Passover Lamb and was crucified at the time the Passover lambs were slaughtered, should we not keep the Passover as a thanksgiving offering also, especially the Seder? It was during the Seder (what we call the last supper) that Yeshua said, “This is My body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me. And this cup is the renewed covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).
We want to look at a few Scriptures about our Mighty Lamb of God and what He has obtained for us because of His freewill offering on our part.
Redemption: “Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).
Deliverance: “Who gave Himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4).
Eternal life: “And this is the promise which He Himself made to us; eternal life” (1 John 2:25, John 3:16).
Access into God’s presence: “Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Yeshua…” (Hebrews 10:19, Ephesians 2:18).
Newness of life: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Freedom: “It was for freedom that Messiah set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
The Holy Spirit: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper, the Holy Spirit, shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7, John 14:26).
We can now know love: “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).
Let us remember and celebrate the Lord’s Passover.