Revelation 5:12 NIV
12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.
Through His blood, that was shed on the cross of Calvary, we are cleansed of all unrighteousness and reconciled with our Father in Heaven.
He was given the name of Jesus, however He is known by other names as well.
Jesus is called Lord, Savior, Christ, Messiah, King of Kings, Prince of Peace and “the LAMB of God.”
In the “Pre-Old Covenant Era”, we find that people of faith in the one true God would offer animal sacrifices to Him.
PRE-OLD COVENANT ERA
As we recall the story of Abraham and Isaac, well before the Old Covenant with the Hebrew nation, we remember the following verse;
Genesis 22:8 NIV
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
It is NO coincidence that Isaac was Abraham’s only son with Sarah and it is NO accident that Abraham said “God will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
God never intended for Isaac to be sacrificed. He was only testing the faith and trust of Abraham.
God provided the lamb.
THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT
Later, we find the Hebrew people enslaved in Egypt.
Using Moses as His human instrument, God was going to send plagues upon Egypt, to secure the freedom of the Hebrew people.
The final plague that would ensure their release, involved animal sacrifice.
Note that the animals chosen for God’s final plague on Egypt, had to be perfect.
Exodus 12:5-6 NIV
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
The blood of these animals would save the Hebrews from death, as God would pass over all homes with the blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes.
Exodus 12:7 NIV
7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.
Exodus 12:12-13 NIV
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
The Exodus account points to the future, where a perfect Lamb of God would die on the cross of Calvary as a means to save all who believe in Him.
THE OLD COVENANT
God chose the tiny Hebrew nation to show the rest of the world who He is.
The one true God.
This was their initial mission.
Later, they would be the "vehicle" that would usher the true Lamb of God into the world.
God entered into a Covenant with them.
Unfortunately, they failed many times in staying faithful to God, falling into idolatry and worship of other Gods, but that is another lesson.
Under the Old Covenant, animal sacrifices had to be made for the atonement of sins.
The lambs that were to be sacrificed could have no blemishes at all. They had to be perfect, with no defects or scars.
God provided the lamb.
THE BIRTH OF THE LAMB OF GOD
Shepherds are the keepers of the flock of sheep.
Shepherds are responsible for the flock which contains the unblemished perfect lambs. They care for the flock. They nurture the flock. They keep the flock safe.
So, is it a coincidence that God first revealed the birth of Christ to these humble caretakers?
We don’t think so.
Luke 2:8-18 NIV
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the
Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
God provided the Lamb.
THE LAMB OF GOD BEGINS HIS WORK
THE NEW COVENANT
When the appointed time came, God ushered in the New Covenant and provided the perfect sacrifice for the atonement of sins. This sacrifice was not only perfect, as it had to be, it would be the ONLY sacrifice ever needed again.
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, identified Him as the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world.
John 1:29 NIV
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
From the very beginning, before the creation of the world, God had a master plan.
There would be the pre-Covenant period, the Old Covenant period and finally when the appointed time arrived, the New Covenant period which would be His final covenant with mankind.
Before the creation of the world, this Lamb was chosen to be the only sacrifice necessary under God’s final Covenant with mankind, which we call the New Covenant.
Jesus would become God manifested in human flesh, born of a woman, with His future destination being the cross of Calvary.
On this cross, Jesus would shed His blood and die for the sins of the world.
Your sins. My sins.
On this cross, Jesus died for all and would become our bridge to God.
Jesus, who was sinless, was called the Lamb of God without blemish.
He was the ONLY sacrifice that would be acceptable to God and the ONLY sacrifice that would ever be needed under the New Covenant with mankind.
1 Peter 1:18-20 NIV
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
God provided the Lamb.