When we lived in Croatia I preached a sermon about Jesus being the lamb of God. I could tell that there was something kind of humorous, awkward, even uncomfortable about this concept. After the service I asked several friends what that was all about. They told me that to describe Jesus as a lamb in their culture would be similar to us describing Jesus as a cow in our culture. It made me realize that much of what Christians believe comes from a Jewish context and history and may not make as much sense to non-Jewish culture.
So we have to ask the question: “what did it mean in the Jewish context to sacrifice a lamb?”
First, sheep were a very high commodity.
Second, it was required to sacrifice the first born lamb that was spotless. So in essence you had to sacrifice your best bet for a better, more valuable flock later.
Third, the sacrificial lamb was brought into the family until it was sacrificed. Meaning you get to know this lamb almost like you get to know your pet. As strange as that sounds, this lamb became part of the family.
So, when Jesus was called “the lamb of God” it doesn’t denote some kind of stupidity or simplicity, it speaks to his utter dependence on his Father and his willingness to lay his life down. He didn’t deserve death, just like the little lamb doesn’t deserve to die. He came into our lives in a gentle way (as a baby), but we rejected him and ultimately we put him on a cross.
But I’m so grateful that the cross wasn’t the end. That Jesus conquered the result of sin (separation from God) and through his blood gives us access to a new and living relationship with God the Father.
Action: Do you know Jesus personally? Have you accepted his sacrifice and thereby come into relationship with our Father in heaven? If not, you can do that today. Simply ask Jesus to come into your life. Tell him that you believe in what he did and ask him to forgive you for doing your own thing.