Malankara World

General Articles and Essays

The Lamb of God

by Rev. Fr. Dr. V.C. Varghese, Sugar Land, TX

"Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). (NRSV) John the Baptist was affirming that we must look for one who had been appointed as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. The Passover was approaching, and the highways were filled with people walking or carrying their one-year-old lambs to the temple to be sacrificed. In full view of those lambs, John pointed out the Lamb Who, when sacrificed, would end all sacrifices in the temple, because He would takes away the sin of the world. The lamb was most often used as a victim of sacrifice, because of its innocence and mildness; therefore, it was an emblem most suited to the character of the Messiah.

In the Bible there are ten notable passages in which the lamb is distinguishably mentioned. The are as follows.

1. Abel and his lamb: Genesis 4: 3-7.

2. Abraham offers the lamb in place of Isaac: Gen. 22.

3. The Passover lamb slain on the night before the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt : Exodus 12.

4. The sin-offering lamb the priests offered on the alter of sacrifice out side the tabernacle (esp. Leviticus 16 Jehovah's lamb/Azazel's lamb) : Leviticus.

5. The suffering lamb on whom "Jehovah laid the iniquity of us all" : Isaiah 53.

6. The lamb announced by John the Baptist : John 1:29.

7. The Ethiopian official, traveling in his chariot on the Gaza road from Jerusalem, Philip explained him about what he was reading : Acts 8: 31-33.

8. Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb "without blemish and without spot" ( 1 Peter 1:18-21).

9. Enthronement of the Lamb in heaven (Rev.5).

10.Lamb is reigning in New Jerusalem ( Rev.21-22).

And now let us travel through those ten lamb passages and briefly explore the remarkable progress of doctrine that they demonstrate. In the case of Abel, we are simply told that the lamb was an "offering" (Gen.4:3-5). The New Testament comment is that it was a "sacrifice" offered by "faith"; that is, it was a propitiation to a gracious Holy God who cannot tolerate sin (Heb.11:4). The lamb was a PROPITIATION.

In the Abraham incident the emphasis is not upon propitiation but upon substitution, for the lamb was offered as a sustitute for Isaac. The lamb was a SUBSTITUTION.

In the Passover story of Exodus 12, the emphasis is neither on propitiation nor on substitution but on protection. The sprinkled blood on the door frames was a protective covering from the angel of judgment and death.

In Leviticus, particularly in chapter 16 where we see the annual Day of Atonement, the emphasis is upon complete ABSOLUTION. The Annual Day of Atonement (YOM KIPPUR) superbly typified our Lord's atoning work on Calvary, and in order to show this lamb had to be represented by two goats one "for Jehovah" as sin offering for the nations's guilt. The other goat "for Azazel" (removal/scapegoat). After the one goat had been slain as a sin offering on behalf of the nation, Aaron, the high priest, was to lay both his hands on the head of the 'azazel', or 'scapegoat', symbolically transferring the sin and iniquities on the azazel goat. Then the azazel, or goat of 'removal', was driven away out to the wilderness where it was killed or devoured by wild animals and never to be returned to the camp/city. ( On Good Friday, we read Leviticus 16 during the morning prayer session). The goat sacrificed for Jehovah typified the Godward aspect of our Lord's atoning work for us, while the azazel goat typified the manward aspect, that is removing of our guilt far from us forever. The two goats together represent a complete and final absolution.

In Isaiah 53 the emphasis is on EXPIATION. The Suffering Lamb who is 'wounded for our transgressions' expiate in His own soul and body the penalty of our sin.

In John 1:29 the emphasis is upon the complete removal of our sin, with all its ugly guilt and penalty.

In Acts 8: 31-33, where Philip preaches Jesus as the Lamb-Messiah-Savior to the high ranking Ethiopian official, the lamb represents the individual human salvation. Here the Ethiopean had failed to find in Jerusalem, in the Law, in the temple, and in the ceremonials; he had found Jesus Christ the Lamb- PERSONAL SALVATION.

In 1Peter 1:18-21 the emphasis is upon REDEMPTION through the Lamb.

In Revelation 5 the emphasis is upon government by the Lamb. He is not only risen and ascended; He is now sits in sovereign control over history and destiny, as the "Lamb in the midst of the throne." Finally, in Revelation 21-22 we see the transfigured saints reigning in eternal glory through the Lamb.

In summary, here are all the ten Lamb statements :

(1) The lamb for sin

(2) the lamb for one person

(3) the lamb for one family

(4) the lamb for one nation

(5) the lamb for all the elect

(6) the lamb for the world

(7) the lamb for "whosoever"

(8) the lamb for all history

(9) the lamb for whole universe

(10) the lamb for all eternity.

In the Bible, doctrine of lamb is another internal evidence of supernatural inspiration of divine revelation to the mankind. I humbly put it together for inspirational meditation throughout the upcoming Holy Passion Week. May God bless us all abundantly. (obliged to J.S. Baxter).

See Also:

An Assurance of God's Love
God loves you completely and absolutely and He is never too busy, too distracted, too distant, too limited.

How do I reconcile an all-powerful creator with the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible?
How do I reconcile the creator (of the Universe) with the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible, which is full of stories about vengeance, pain and suffering. Why would I believe in a deity who shows such cruelty and inconsistency?

Getting the 'I' Out of Your Eye
Isn't that a work of the Cross? A smaller "I" and a greater Christ? Don't focus on yourself; focus on all that you have in Christ. Focus on the encouragement in Christ, the consolation of Christ, the love of Christ, the fellowship of the Spirit, the affection and compassion of heaven.

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