The True Easter Lamb

Lamb of God

From Alpha to Omega, El Shaddai to Prince of Peace, the many names of God highlight His attributes, each lighting up a facet of who He is. As I have studied these names, I have been impressed with how many pairs of them stand in stark contrast to each other! God is the Lord and the Servant. God is the Lamb and the Lion and the Lioness. God is the Shepherd and the Lamb.

During the Easter season, I am especially drawn to the image of God as a Lamb. The lamb has a long history as a symbol of Easter, and continues to endure even in secular depictions of the holiday.

Scripture refers to God or Jesus as a lamb numerous times throughout the Old and New Testaments.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” — John 1:29

 [You were redeemed] with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. — 1 Peter 1:19

 He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. — Isaiah 53:7

 They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. — Revelation 7:15, Revelation 7:17

Can it be that the Creator of all the galaxies was also named the Lamb? The gentle creature of whom the poet asked:

 

Little lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou life, and bid thee feed

By the stream and o’er the mead,

Gave thee clothing of delight,

Softest clothing, woolly, bright;

Gave thee such a tender voice,

Making all the vales rejoice?

Little lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

Little lamb, I’ll tell thee,

Little lamb, I’ll tell thee.

He is called by thy name,

For He calls Himself a Lamb.

He is meek, and He is mild,

He became a little child.

I a child, and thou a lamb,

We are called by His name.

Little lamb, God bless thee!

Little lamb, God bless thee!

-William Blake, Songs of Innocence

 

The lamb, even today, symbolizes innocence and purity. Only a pure unblemished lamb could be a sacrifice. A spotted lamb was not acceptable. The sacrificial lamb could not have any flaw or deformity. It could not harbor a parasite or suffer from any ailment. It had to be the firstborn of its mother.

The offering of a lamb had to be from an obedient heart in order to be acceptable. This was true of the very first offering mentioned in Scripture – Abel’s offering of a lamb from his flock (Genesis 4) – and continues to be true for every offering thereafter. King Saul’s proposed offering was rejected because he had been disobedient (1 Samuel 15). He was told

To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. — 1 Samuel 15:22

The offering of the Lamb was an offering of obedience. The writer of Hebrews says of Christ, the Lamb,

Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered. — Hebrews 5:8

For the offering to be complete, the blood of the Lamb had to be shed.

And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. — Hebrews 9:22

All the animals sacrificed in the time of the Old Testament were object lessons, pointing toward the one sufficient, worthy sacrifice. We celebrate Easter today because of the ultimate sacrifice that was made on Good Friday. Because all of us have sinned, the only One who could provide an acceptable sacrifice was God himself. Abraham was more right than he knew when he told Isaac,

God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering. — Genesis 22:8

God’s lamb, holy, pure, perfect, and altogether worthy, shed His blood as an offering to atone for our sins. For us, the Creator of the galaxies became a Child, who became the Lamb of God.

The wonder is that “we are called by His name”! What does it mean for me, today, that I am called a lamb? What does it mean for me, in light of Holy Week, that Jesus is the Lamb?

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! — Revelation 5:12

Worthy Lamb of God, receive our praise and gratitude today for your great sacrifice on our behalf.

Adapted with permission from All the Glorious Names by Mary Foxwell Loeks.

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Your Turn

What does it mean to know that Jesus is the Lamb? How can studying the names of God in Scripture draw you closer to who He is during this Holy Week? Come share your thoughts with us on our blog! We want to hear about how you are experiencing God this Easter! ~ Devotionals Daily

Mary Foxwell Loeks

Mary Loeks grew up in Japan, the daughter of missionary parents. After graduation from Wheaton College she taught at the elementary and pre-school levels for eleven years. Mary and her husband John live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where for 20 years she served as Minister of Education at Church of the Servant. She has three married children and five grandchildren. Mary has also written Devotions for Young Mothers, Christmas Activity Book, and Object Lessons for Children's Worship.

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