This morning we continue our devotions around the Message of the Cross.
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
A foundational doctrine of the Christian faith is that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the sins of mankind—that without this act of love by the Son of God, humanity would have no hope of life after death. Jesus’ death and resurrection made a way for us to be reconciled to God – To return to God’s original plan for mankind.
When Jesus died on the cross the curtain in the Temple that kept people out of the Holy of Holies that signified the Presence of God was ripped in two from top to bottom. Up until then only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only after sacrificing a bull without blemish. After Jesus’ death anyone could enter the Holy of Holies signifying all could come into the Presence of God. Our relationship with God was fully restored.
The designation “Lamb of God” reflects back to the time when Israel was delivered from ancient Egypt under the direction of Moses. Before the 10th plague—the death of the firstborn—Israelite families were instructed to kill a lamb and brush some of its blood on the top and sides of the doorframes of their dwellings. The lamb that was slain for this purpose was called the Passover lamb, and the observance of this ceremony was known as the Passover.
During that first Passover in Egypt, God was willing to accept the blood of the Passover lamb on the doorframes of the Israelites’ dwellings in place of the blood of their firstborn. The firstborn of Israelites who rejected the blood of the lamb would not have been spared from death. The blood of this lamb thus enabled the Israelites to escape the penalty that was coming upon the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:21-24).
Passover was to become an annual observance in Israel so that they would remember how God delivered them from death. It is interesting that at the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection the Jewish people were celebrating the Feast of Passover.
Of course, the experiences of ancient Israel all looked forward to even more important spiritual lessons for Christians. Jesus Christ became the Passover Lamb for the Christian Church. The apostle Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 5:7,
“For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2). Without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we have no forgiveness. His sacrifice makes us at one with God.
He has done it all – that is the Message of the Cross