The Sacrificial Lamb

Throughout the journey of the Jewish people (the origins of the Christian Faith) sacrifices were made to cleanse the people of their sins.  This tradition goes all the way back to Genesis (see Genesis 3:21, where God kills an animal, then clothes Adam and Eve with its skin) and was practiced by the Jewish people throughout history. 

We are supposed to be dead.  We sinned and the wages of sin is death (Romans 2:23).   Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, yet God spared them.  Look back at Genesis 2: 16-17, as God tells the man about the garden.

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will certainly die.”
 – Genesis 2:16-17

We find ourselves asking how Adam and Eve walked out of the garden that day, after God made the promise of death for their sin.  And in the couple of verses in Genesis 3, we find our answer.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
 – Genesis 3:21

God shed the blood of animals, clothing Adam and Eve with both their skin and their blood.  God substituted the blood of the man and woman for the blood of animals.  And in that moment, when they were supposed to die both a physical and spiritual death, God made the sacrifice, giving them (and all of humanity) physical life. 

At that point, humanity died a spiritual death, but God did not leave them. 

After the flood (see Genesis 6-9) God saves the righteous and begins the tradition of sacrificial offerings.  Abram enters into the Covenant with God, but he does not pass through the split carcasses, instead God sends the smoking fire-pot and blazing torch through, taking both sides of the Covenant upon himself (see Genesis 15).  At this point, Jesus, the Son of God receives the burden of sin. 

A covenant is a statement saying, “If I don’t keep my end, let this blood that we walk through be my blood.”  God knew men could not uphold this side of the covenant, so he took it upon himself. 

The Jewish people sacrificed the perfect, male lamb each year, looking forwards to something yet to come.  But just as the lamb only lives physically and not spiritually, when we were washed by the blood of an animal sacrifice, we only receive physical life.  But to be reunited with God, the sacrificial lamb did not work, we were still only living a physical life. 

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is called the Lamb of God, beginning with  John the Baptist (John 1:29).  He was and is the perfect, unblemished sacrifice, God’s Son, His Presence on the Earth.  His blood was shed to uphold the Covenant of Abram, now called Abraham, the father of the nations. 

We call today Good Friday.  The day that the lands went dark and the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom (Mark 15:38) as Jesus died on the cross.  He took all our sins upon himself and died for our sake, replacing the sacrificial lamb.  He, unlike the sacrificial animal, died both physically and spiritually, so that we could live both. 

With His blood, we are brought into new life, into the presence of God. 

But this is just part of the story of our faith.  The faith and traditions of the Jewish people are our foundation, our roots.  The Christian Faith is the branch, grafted into the stem, the roots that dig deep. 

God Bless and PEACE


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