Devotion for the week of 3/17/14-3/23/14
In the Old Testament people had to make sacrifices when they sinned. Hebrews 9:22 says “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” In order to be forgiven, they had to sacrifice an animal, typically a lamb. This was before Jesus came. Jesus was sent to be the ultimate sacrifice. His blood was shed to cover over the sins of the world: past, present, and future. In John 1:29 John refers to Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. Jesus is called the Lamb of God because He was sent by God to be sacrificed like a lamb. He was perfect and had never sinned, but He took on the sin of the world so that there could be eternal forgiveness without any more bloodshed. He was innocent, just as the lambs who were sacrificed before were. A lamb is also like Jesus because they are both peaceful. Sheep are not violent, and neither was Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross as the Lamb of God was foreshadowed in Genesis 22, the story where Abraham is prepared to sacrifice his only son Isaac. God asked him to do this and, without hesitation, Abraham agreed. Later on, when he and his son were going to the mountain to make the sacrifice, Isaac asked where the lamb for the sacrifice was. Abraham told him that God would provide the lamb. This foreshadowed God sending His only Son to die as a sacrifice. Before Abraham could sacrifice his son, and angel told him not to. The angel said that he knows now that Abraham loves the Lord since he did not withhold even his only son. Just as God later showed His love for us by not withholding His only Son. Now we no longer have to sacrifice a lamb when we sin (if we did, sheep would be endangered or even extinct!) because Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for our sins. Because of this, we can be forgiven.