For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
There will soon be a great celebration in heaven, when the redeemed – those purchased by the blood of the Lamb – gather with Him to celebrate His victory over sin and Satan. We, the people of the Lamb will fully partake in His holiness that day. His sinlessness, flawlessness and triumph over sin will be imputed to us, just as our sinfulness was once laid upon Him.
Let us reflect briefly on the nature and role of the Lamb.
1. He is sinless: He is described as the Lamb without blemish or spot who ransomed us with His blood (1 Peter 1:19-20). As Isaiah 53 puts it, “He had done no violence and there was no deceit in His mouth…”
2. He was foreordained: He was chosen for this purpose – foreknown – before the foundation of the world, but revealed to us in the last times (1 Peter 1:19-20).
3. He is lowly: He had totally emptied Himself of all His glory, and chose to be abased for our sakes: “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…”
4. He suffered and bore our punishment: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed… the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all…”
5. He was forsaken: by God as He stood carrying our sins.”It was the Lord’s will to crush Him” Jesus Himself called out on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46).
6. He was an offering: of love from God for us. He was our guilt offering. Yet, He offered Himself and the voluntary nature of His offering cannot be over-emphasised. He could have been released from His pain, but He chose to bear it for the joy of seeing us all set free from the captivity of sin.
7. He was obedient: As part of the triune God, in His pre-incarnate state, there was no need for Him to obey, because His will was one with the Father’s. As he shared our humanity, He was ‘tempted in every way’ and had to reject sin. He is described as having ‘learned obedience through suffering’. Even confronted with a painful death on the cross and separation from the Father, He prayed,“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done”(Luke 22:42 NIV).
8. He is the Intercessor: He “makes intercession for the transgressors”. His work on the cross is finished, but His present work as our Advocate, Mediator and Intercessor is ongoing, and makes our salvation perfect. “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25 NIV). Because of His advocacy on our behalf we may come boldly into the presence of God, with our sins cleansed by His blood.
9. He is worthy: If He were unworthy or undeserving – to perform His present work as our Advocate or of the honour now accorded Him, or to open the scroll (which means to open the way for our ultimate victory) – then our hope would be correspondingly diminished. But He is worthy. The angels in heaven constantly acclaim His worthiness in song – “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing” (Revelations 5:12). His worthiness results from His finished work – “for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood me” (Revelation 5:9).
10. He is victorious: The world will see Him as the Conquering Lamb. When His wrath and judgment are revealed, all that is sinful will seek to hide from His presence, but not be able to. He will confront the Anti-Christ in a final battle – “they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Revelations 17:14 ESV).
Jesus, Lamb of God,
when you walked this earth
you did not consider
though that was yours to choose,
but took the role of servant,
and in humility
allowed the rough nails of our sin
to be hammered into your flesh
for the sake of our salvation.
And so it is
that we acknowledge you
as Lord of all,
to the glory of God the Father,
Son and Spirit, Three.
(Jesus, Lamb of God. A Catholic prayer during Lent)