2000-01-12 - The Sacrificial Lamb
John 1:29 "The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'"
In Alexandria, Egypt, a sacrificial lamb told its owner in its own way what it thought of the plans for his life. Waheeb Hamoudah plummeted to his death when the sheep that he had been fattening up on his rooftop butted him off. The 56-year-old planned to kill the lamb for Eid al-Adha, the Muslim feast of sacrifice, in early March. Neighbors found Hamoudah Monday, lying bleeding on the ground below, with several broken bones. He died soon after reaching hospital.
There are many aspects of wonder and blessing concerning the sacrifice of Christ for our sin. Here is a new one. We don't need to raise lambs on our roofs to sacrifice to God to, appease His anger over our sin. God's anger has been poured out on Christ on the Cross and the blood of sheep and goats are no longer required of followers of the Triune God.
The sacrifices in the Old Testament were only pointers to the sacrifice of the Messiah to come. 1 Samuel 15:22 reminds us how God feels concerning sacrifices. "Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams." It has always been that the blood of goats and rams did not atone for sin, but rather they pointed to the one who does atone for sin -- Christ. As David says in Psalm 40:6, "Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; my ears You have opened. Burnt offerings and sin offering You have not required."
Jesus knew that His death or sacrifice was not the failure of His cause but rather the fulfillment. He came to be a sacrifice for our sin. The truth of Christ's message of forgiveness of sins for those who come to Him in faith was only confirmed in His sacrifice. At the moment of His death, I am sure it appeared to the Apostles that the movement was over, but how quickly did they learn the truth of what Tertullian would say in 200 AD, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." Many Christians gave their lives in the early church and it was the sacrifice of Christ for sin and the stamp of acceptance from the Father of that sacrifice that led them, as Tertullian observed, to establish the church with their own blood.
Christ gave His life for our forgiveness. He was sacrificed for our sin. I would never say that living the Christian life is a simple walk in the park; rather, it is a struggle. But many Christians think that sacrifice is for "hard core" Christians, and it is. Many Christians think that sacrifice is for those who are "really serious" about their devotion to the Lord, and it is. However, sacrifice is for all who follow Christ. Being a Christians is serious business. It is the example of Christ and the example of those who have followed Him since His death and resurrection.
Sacrifice for us today often means giving up something that we could have or even value, to show our devotion and love to Christ. Maybe cable TV keeps you away from the Bible. A sacrifice would be to give up the cable bill and give it to missions. Then you could use that time, the time you used to use watching TV, to study and learn more about God's Holy Word. Maybe sacrifice means buying a Ford instead of a Nissan, and giving the balance to a struggling church. Frankly, not much of a sacrifice there. But we must start somewhere. Think of all Christ has done for sinners, redeeming them from eternal separation from God, offering forgiveness from sin … What are you giving back to Him to advance His kingdom in a fallen and dying world?
What is your point or points of sacrifice?
Soli Deo Gloria,