BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD
This morning I want to walk you through the Passover story, which is one of the most powerful events found in the word of God. As believers in Christ, we celebrate a part of the Passover every year when we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The message of the cross and the meaning of the cross is found in the Passover story. Most of you know the Passover story, but this morning I want you to see it through the eyes of a lamb and what the Lamb means for us as believers in Christ.
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (NKJV)
Behold the Lamb of God…
When John the Baptist made this bold revelation, the Jewish people were shocked with utter amazement. They were shocked because they knew the only thing you could do with a lamb was to kill it for a sacrifice. And yet this is the announcement John made in revealing the unique identity of Jesus.
Out of all that John could have said about Jesus he called Jesus the Lamb of God. Think about this for just a moment. Think of all that John could have said; He could have said, behold the Promised Messiah. He could have said behold the Prophet like unto Moses; behold the Prince of Peace, or behold the Lord of all lords or even the Son of God. He could have said all of these and more, but instead John introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
The message of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God is huge. When you understand the picture of the lamb, what the lamb means, and who the lamb is, you will have a greater appreciation of the meaning behind your eternal salvation.
From the book of Exodus we find the details that describe the significance of the lamb.
PASSOVER AND THE COMING JUDGMENT
The first thing we need to know about the Passover is to understand the reality of judgment. Every person faces the terrible judgment of God. God in His infinite mercy made a way so that we could escape His judgment and wrath upon our sin. The Passover event was the beginning of God’s plan to save us from our sins so that we could spend eternity in His kingdom. So as you hear this message, realize this was God’s way of preparing the world for the coming His Son, the Lamb of God.
Exodus 12:12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men 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. (NIV)
First, I want you to get a clear picture of what is taking place here. Up to this point, Egypt has just endured 9 terrible plagues of judgment that were orchestrated by the hand of God to display His glory and might. However as bad as those 9 plagues were, they were nothing compared to the judgment they were about to experience. God was about to send a 10th plague, a plague so terrible that it would be historic for all time.
Exodus 11:4 "This is what the LORD says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt--worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.' Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. (NIV)
Let’s look at this for a moment. There are several powerful principles in these verses but I only have enough time to give you one. Enough to help you understand what is happening here.
In God’s eyes there is a distinctive difference between those who believe in Him and those who do not. That principle still holds true to this day. There is an eternal difference between those who love the Lord and those who do not; and the difference between those two is eternal life and eternal death.
Let me show you what this looks like in this story.
Egypt represents unbelievers. Egypt represents those who reject God and refuse to believe God has the power to bring judgment. In our society today, there are many who mock and ridicule the truth that God has the power to bring judgment on a nation.
On the other side of that, Israel represents us as believers; those who chose to obey God and choose to trust in Him for salvation.
The point is this; A person who rejects God’s way of salvation will face His judgment, just as Egypt faced God’s judgment. It is not God’s desire for anyone to face the judgment, which is exactly why God made a way of salvation for us. God made a way of salvation so that we would not have to spend eternity in hell apart from His kingdom.
And I want to show you how God did that as we look at the Passover event and see it through the eyes of the Lamb. Everything you about to hear in this message points directly to Jesus as the Lamb of God, who saves us from our sins.
FIRST, THERE HAD TO BE A CHOSEN LAMB
Exodus 12:3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take (choose) a lamb for his family, one for each household. NIV
First, I want you to see that they had to choose a lamb.
Judgment was coming and for Israel to be spared from the coming judgment, they had to obey God by choosing a lamb for a sacrifice.
Every family had to choose a lamb. Here’s the picture for this;
Just as Israel had to choose a lamb, even so, God chose a lamb to save us from the judgment of our sins, and that lamb is Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.
The Bible says that Christ as the Lamb of God was chosen from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)
God knew that the only thing in His kingdom, that could overcome His divine judgment against sin, was the holy, royal blood of His own Son. Out of His own love and mercy, God chose His own Son, to be the sacrificial lamb to overcome the judgment of our sins.
Second, why a lamb? Why not a bull or a dove or some other animal? Why did God require a lamb to be chosen and sacrificed? When you look at Jesus and you compare His life with the character of a lamb, the answer is very simple. A lamb is defenseless, innocent and humble, just as Jesus was innocent and humble.
The point is this; to be saved from judgment an innocent and humble lamb had to be chosen for a sacrifice. Jesus Christ is that humble, innocent lamb who was chosen by God as the sacrifice to save you and I from the judgment of our sins.
So, we see that an innocent, humble lamb was chosen for the sacrifice.
A PERFECT LAMB
Now they couldn’t just chose any lamb out of the flock. It had to be a special lamb. Notice what it says in Exodus 12:5.
Exodus 12:5 The animals (lamb) you choose must be year-old males without defect…
This lamb had to be without any defects. It had to be a perfect lamb. It had to be in perfect health and without spots or marks. Only a perfect lamb would do.
Why is that important? Why couldn’t they choose any lamb?
God was teaching a lesson that it would take the absolute, very best sacrifice to save them from the coming judgment of the angel of death. Now, apply that to the cross.
God chose His only Son, Jesus, as the perfect lamb to be sacrificed for our sins and to save us from the terrible coming judgment of God. Do you see that picture?
God chose to sacrifice the absolute very best He had to save us. That’s why Jesus died on the cross; as the perfect lamb; and as the perfect sacrifice.
A MALE LAMB OF ONE YEAR
Exodus 12:5… must be year-old males without defect
Not only was this to be a perfect lamb, but also a male lamb. Not a female, but a male.
God said that when they chose the lamb for the sacrifice it had to be a male lamb.
Also notice from verse 5 that the lamb had to be ONE YEAR old. Now this is important. Why did God say one year? Why not 16 months or 2 years?
Why one year? Because a one year old lamb, represented a very young lamb. Once again we see a foreshadow of Christ and His death on the cross. When Jesus died on the cross, He died in the prime of His life. So we see that Jesus represented a one year old male lamb.
THE LAMB AS A SACRIFICE
Exodus 12:6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
There are 3 things about the sacrifice that you need to know.
First, this lamb had to be a slain lamb. A living lamb would not do. This lamb had to be chosen, it had to be perfect, it had to be a young male lamb, and we see that the lamb had to be slain to provide a deliverance from sin and judgment.
Second, notice the Lamb was to be killed on a certain day. If they waited a day later, it would have been a disaster for them because they would have faced the judgment of God without the blood of the lamb upon them. You do not want to step into eternity without the blood of Jesus Christ upon your life.
Again, why the specific date?
Jesus death on the cross was not an accident. It was the divine plan of God and it was a date set in eternity. I want you to get that into your heart. Throughout His life, Jesus knew the exact time and date of His death. He knew exactly what was going to happen and when it would happen to Him.
Just as the lamb was to be slain on a specific day, even so, Jesus death was also a specific date set in eternity. The day of the cross is a day that divides all of history and eternity. There is no other day in eternity greater than the day the Lord of glory laid down His life to save us from our sins.
Again we ask, why the specific time of day?
Why not in the early morning or at high noon or in the late afternoon?
God said they were to sacrifice the lamb at twilight. Now again, lets compare that with the time of Jesus death.
The New Testament tells us that Jesus died at the 9th hour of the day, which was in the late afternoon, or at twilight. Exactly at the 9th hour, when Jesus died on the cross; at that exact same time the High Priest was at the temple sacrificing the Passover Lamb.
APPLYING THE BLOOD
Then in verse 22 we see that this sacrifice was a blood sacrifice and the blood had to be applied in a specific way. Again, notice the imaginary here.
How was the blood to be applied? In a very amazing way. Lets look at Exodus 12:22.
Exodus 12:22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
First, have you ever wondered why God requires a blood sacrifice? Why not some other way of sacrifice? The Bible says in…
Hebrews 9:22 That without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
The world refuses to come to God by the way He has designed. Society mocks and rejects God’s way of salvation through Jesus Christ. The idea of the cross is foolishness to them. The cross and blood of Jesus Christ as the lamb on that cross is what God has given for us to use for our eternal salvation.
Second, God gave very specific instructions on where to apply the blood of the lamb. The father of each home was to kill this innocent lamb at the basin of the threshold or entrance to the home. Then he would take a branch of hyssop, dip it into the blood and put the blood on the top of the door and on both sides of the doorframe.
Now notice that the blood was applied at the top and on both sides of the door and of course the blood at the bottom or the basin of the door.
Why could they not just apply it anywhere on the doorframe?
Why put the blood on both sides of the door, and at the top?
Why wasn’t the blood just left in the basin at the threshold?
This is very important. You must understand that everything God did in the Old Testament is a foreshadow of what He would do in the New Testament. He had a reason for every single detail.
Let’s look at the New Testament description of this.
The top is the blood that flowed from the head of Jesus from where He wore a crown of thorns. The sides of the doorframe represent where the hands of Jesus were nailed to the cross. Then the bottom of the doorframe or the basin, we find the large pool of blood, which represented the spot where He died and where Jesus feet were nailed to the cross. It was also where His blood ran down from the cross to the bottom of the cross and flowed away.
Do you see the picture? The lamb had to be a living sacrifice that died for the salvation of the people from the impending judgment, just as Jesus was a living sacrifice who died for our sins.
Exodus 12:13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are.
It says a “sign for whom?” “For you.” What was to be the sign?
The sign was how the blood was applied to the door of the house.
God was painting a picture so that anyone could see and understand that when the real Lamb of God appeared on the scene, He would be recognized as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. The sign of blood on the doorframe was a picture of Jesus death on the cross for the sins of the world.
The blood of Jesus Christ is a sign to the world of His sacrificial love.
COVERED AND PROTECTED BY THE BLOOD
God said… Exodus 12:13 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. NIV
God said, “When” I see the what? The Blood! Say that with me. The Blood! Not when I see your good works. Not when I see your church membership. Not when I see you finally being nice for a change. No! When I see the blood, I, THE LIVNG GOD will pass by you and spare you from my wrath and judgment.
This is the Old Testament. What about Jesus in the New Testament; what does it say about the blood of the Lamb for us?
1 Peter 1:18 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 forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. NIV
Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood…NIV
Do you see the difference here between those who are covered by the blood and those who are not?
To receive eternal salvation you must have your sins washed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
On the night of the Passover, only those whose homes were covered by the blood were
protected. Only those whose doorframes were covered by the blood were saved from the coming judgment.
The only way to be saved from hell and the judgment of God is for the blood of Jesus to wash away your sins. Only the blood of Jesus can save you from the judgment of God.
God says when I see the blood of My Son, Jesus, I will pass over you.
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Oh precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know.
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Only the blood of Jesus Christ can wash away your sins and give you eternal life.
Have you applied the blood of Christ to your heart?
Today, I encourage you to come to the cross and see for yourself God’s chosen Lamb who was sacrificed so that His blood could be applied to your heart and save you from the wrath and judgment of God against sin.
God says only when I see the blood on your heart will I pass over you.