Summary: The true spirit of Christmas is humble self-sacrifice.

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He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth (v. 7).

How was Jesus like a lamb? First, a lamb is an animal of submission. A lamb is quietly "led to the

slaughter" because it doesn't know what is going to happen. Jesus, on the other hand, was not an unwilling victim. Luke 9:51 says, "When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51). Jesus knew that He would be crucified in Jerusalem, but He went there anyway.

When Jesus stood before the high priest, Pilate, and Herod, He did not try to defend Himself. "And the high priest stood up and said, 'Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?’ But Jesus remained silent'"” (Matthew 26:62-63a). "And Pilate again asked him, 'Have you an answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.' But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed" (Mark 15:4-5). "When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer" (Luke 23:8-9).

Second, a lamb was an animal of sacrifice. The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament fore-shadowed the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

In Genesis 22, God told Abraham, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering" (v. 2). As Abraham and his son Isaac were traveling, Isaac asked, "Where is the lamb?" (Genesis 22:7). He was unaware that God had told Abraham to sacrifice his son. Once they arrived at the place for the offering, Abraham revealed to Isaac the sad news. Isaac was placed on the altar, but just as Abraham was about to kill his son, the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me" (v. 12). Then "Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son" (v. 13).

Abraham's son was spared, but God's Son was not. "For God so loved, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Jesus is the provided lamb who took our place on the cross. When John the Baptist saw Jesus he declared, "Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).


Verses 7-9 foretell the unjust suffering of the Servant:

• His trial. By oppression and judgment he was taken away (v. 8a; also v. 7).

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