Summary: This morning we’re going to focus on Jesus as the Lamb. Jesus is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Even before God began to construct creation, he made provision for the sins of a fallen race. Instead of camping in one passage, I want to
Most of us are buzzing around at warp speed this Christmas season. We’re filled with stress and anxiety. It’s like we’re stuck on "fast forward" as we race toward Christmas Day. Bill Flick, a columnist for The Pantagraph, has compiled some crazy stories that have taken place during the holidays. Here are three short ones:
• In Thousand Oaks, California, a department store Santa was dismissed when an elf called him a name and Santa drew a handgun, threatening to shoot him if he didn’t stop.
• At a Seattle charity event sponsored by union meat cutters, a volleyball game was played using frozen meats instead of a ball. It was cut short when one of the players was hit on the head by an 11-pound turkey.
• Outside a church in Miami, a woman was charged with assaulting her husband with an umbrella shaft after he fell asleep during a special Christmas service.
I hope none of you fall asleep this morning, but if you do, we’ve outfitted the ushers with some umbrellas! Some of us are tired because we’re running and moving and shopping and going to parties. This morning I want us to push the "pause" button. Actually, we’re going to hit "rewind" and take another look at Christmas B.C. As we rewind, we’ll understand more about Christmas - and maybe even slow down enough in the process to rediscover the true meaning of the Babe’s birth in Bethlehem.
Last week we went "back to the future," to the days right after the creation of the world to discover that Christmas was God’s plan from the very beginning. Genesis 3:15 shows us that while Satan wounded Jesus on the heel, the "Seed of the Woman" crushed the evil one when He died on the Cross.
This morning we’re going to focus on Jesus as the Lamb. Jesus is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Even before God began to construct creation, he made provision for the sins of a fallen race. The Lamb is cradled in the womb of the Old Testament, whose types and symbols, promises and prophecies are pregnant with Jesus. Instead of just camping in one passage, I want to do a Scriptural survey to show that Mary’s little lamb was the promised Lamb of God, sent to save people from their sins.
The Lamb on the Mountain
We begin just a few chapters from where we started last week. If you have your Bibles, please turn to Genesis 22. After nearly wiping out the population during the flood, God calls Abraham to continue the righteous seed of Eve in chapter 12. Abraham receives the promise that he will be made into a great nation and that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. God eventually provides Sarah and Abraham with a son named Isaac in chapter 21 when Abraham was 100 years old!
Genesis 22 begins with God’s instructions for Abraham to take his son, the son of promise to the mountain of Moriah. In verse 2, God tells him to "sacrifice him there as a burnt offering..." Early the next morning, Abraham set off to the mountain with his son. The journey took three days. I can’t imagine what must have been going through his mind during this trip! Verse 6 tells us that Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac. In verse 7, young Isaac asks his dad a haunting question, "The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" I love how Abraham answers his son in verse 8: "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son."
Abraham then builds the altar, arranges the wood and ties his only son to the altar. As he reached out his hand to slay his cherished child, the angel of the Lord speaks in verse 12: "Do not lay a hand on the boy...do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Abraham then looks up and sees a ram that is caught in the thicket. He then substituted the ram for his son and sacrificed the ram in his place. From that point on, Abraham called that place, "Jehovah-jireh," which means, "The Lord will provide."
Let me point out some truths from this passage:
1. Mount Moriah is where the Temple was eventually built. Scholars tell us that it was in close proximity to where Jesus was crucified as the final sacrifice.
2. God "himself" provided the lamb. The word "himself" is significant. God "himself" sent his lamb to die for the sins of the world. The sacrifice came from Him. It was no accident that the ram was in the thicket. God provided the sacrifice. Just as Abraham offered his only son, so too, God himself provided the sacrifice of His one and only son on our behalf.