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The Sacrifice of Jesus

The Sacrifice of Jesus PDF

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
- John the Baptist, John 1:29 (ESV)
 

 Jesus is given many titles in Scripture: Messiah, Christ, Teacher (Rabbi), Lord, Master, Son of God, King of Jews, Logos (Word), Light of the World, Bread of Life, Second Adam, Son of Man, Lion of Judah and Lamb of God.

The majority of these terms have a sense of power and/or strength, or at least humanity (Second Adam, Son of Man).  But the title of Lamb seems to portray meekness, even weakness.

Passover

The Jewish holiday known as Passover commemorates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt, when they were freed from slavery under Pharaoh. In Exodus chapter 12, as safety from the last plague upon Egypt, we see that God instructed the Jews to take a one-year old male lamb that was without blemish and slaughter it.  The blood from this lamb was to be smeared on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses.  That night, the first-born of all men and animals died in Egypt except those whose doors were marked with the blood of the lamb. When a door was encountered with the blood, that house was ‘passed over’. God commanded the Jews to observe this holiday (Exodus 12:14 and others).

For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. – Exodus 12:12-13

Some interesting requirements of the Passover offering:

  • Must be roasted without the head, feet or inner organs removed (Exodus 12:9)
  • None of its bones could be broken (Exodus 12:46)
  • Must be without blemish (Exodus 12:5).
  • Eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:8).
  • Any leftover mean the next morning must be burned (Exodus 12:10)

Temple Sacrificial Lambs

Aside from the annual Passover lamb, two lambs were sacrificed in the temple every day- one in the morning and another in the evening:

This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. – Exodus 29:38-39

Why Require a Sacrifice?

Why a sacrifice at all??? God is righteous, perfect and just.

“Yahweh–Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave the guilty unpunished…”
- Exodus 34:6b-7a (HCSB)

We know also that the shedding of blood is required for forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22).  Therefore, it becomes necessary that some sort of sacrifice be made, it is a requirement of justice.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. – Leviticus 17:11 (KJV)

The Perfect Sacrifice

Jesus is, of course, our Passover Lamb.  By His Blood, our sins are cleansed and we are passed over for judgment.  He was even crucified during the Passover holiday (Mark 14:12) and, just like the Passover lamb, none of his bones were broken (John 19:31-37).

Also, just as hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood of the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:22), hyssop was dipped in sour wine and lifted up to Jesus on the cross (John 19:29).

Unlike those other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when He offered Himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. – Hebrews 7:27 (NLT)

Just as the ancient Israelites were freed from the bondage of Pharaoh through the blood of the Passover lamb, we are free from the bondage of sin through the Blood of the Passover Lamb!

Discussion

  • Since God knows all things, He certainly would have known which houses to pass over in Egypt. Why then, did He want the Jews to slaughter a lamb, eat the meat, and smear the blood on their doors?
  • What is the significance of Jesus being referred to as both the Lion and the Lamb? Consider Revelation 5:5-6.
  • Why is Jesus our Passover Lamb? Since He is our atonement for sin, why didn’t He die at the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)? (see Leviticus 16:1–34, Leviticus 23:26–32, Numbers 29:7–11)