THE SLAYING OF THE LAMB - An Easter Meditation

It should not have come as a surprise.

It had always been there. It had always been the plan. It had always been a reality in God’s eternal perspective.

Jesus Christ is ‘the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world’ [Revelation 13:8].

God created the first tree knowing that his Lamb would die on a wooden cross.
God created the first iron ore knowing all about the iron nails that would one day pierce his Lamb.
God created the first human hands knowing that one day such hands would be raised in violence against his Lamb.
God created the first human heart knowing that that first heart, and all human hearts since, would sin and would thereby necessitate the slaying of the Lamb.

From before the beginning of time God knew, the Lamb knew, that on one appointed day in time the Lamb would be slain [2Timothy 1:9b].

And still God, in an act of unbelievable grace and unexplainable love, created us; in that act the Lamb committed himself to this inevitable slaying.

Inevitable?

Yes. If we sinners are to be liberated from our burden of guilt [Colossians 2:13-14].
Yes. If we sinners are to be set free from sin’s punishment [Romans 8:1].
Yes. If we sinners are to be redeemed from sin’s bondage [1Peter 1:18-19].
Yes. If our sin is never again going to be held against us [2Corinthians 5:19].

Yes. If God is to justify the wicked [Romans 4:5].
Yes. If God is to reconcile us to himself [Colossians 1:19-22].
Yes. If God is to grant us eternal life [John 3:16].

This slaying, this death of the Lamb, is the inevitable outcome, the unavoidable necessity. Unless God chose not to create us. Unless God chose to create us puppets or machines. Or unless God chose to leave us trapped, disempowered, condemned, dead and alienated in our sin. Unless God chose to abandon us.

The Lamb must suffer. He must give his life a ransom for many [Mark 8:31; 9:12;10:45]. Only this way can life replace death. Only this way can peace with God replace our alienation and fear. Only this way can the overwhelming love of God get through to us and remove and replace his just wrath.

Thus John the Baptist introduced Jesus with the words: ‘Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ [John 1:29].

Here comes the one about whom God said to Satan: ‘you will strike his heel’ [Genesis 3:15].

Here is the one anticipated in the death of the animal slain to provide a covering for the first sinners [Genesis 3:21].

Here is the one symbolized in the ram provided by God as a substitute offering in place of Isaac [Genesis 22:1-14].

Here is the one foreshadowed in the Passover lambs, slain to avoid the death of the firstborn [Exodus 12; 1Corinthians 5:7].

Here is the one real, ultimate sacrifice from which all the sacrifices of Israel took their meaning and their power [Leviticus 1 – 7; Hebrews 9:11 – 10:18.]

Here is the one whose substitutionary atoning death was described as an already completed event centuries before it happened:

‘He was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment the brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way,
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ [Isaiah 53:5,6]

Here is the one of whom the multitudes in heaven said:

‘You are worthy …
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation …

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise! …

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever! … Amen.’ [Revelation 5:9-14]

May we like them worship the Lamb that was slain for us.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2012