Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Do You Love This Lamb?

That question came as a surprise.  My friend had just returned from touring Israel.  She said her tour guide told how Judaism’s priest, when presented a sacrifice lamb, would ask the family,

                                                             “Do you love this lamb?”

You probably remember that each person or family in Israel was responsible for choosing a male, first-born lamb, without spot or blemish.  Only a lamb perfect in both health and appearance was acceptable.  But more than just choosing the lamb, the family was required to keep it close by for a few days before taking it to be sacrificed.  In this way, the sacrifice of the lamb was meant to feel personal. 

So the priest's question, “Do you love this lamb?” reveals God’s heart.  He had no desire for a sacrifice absent of love.  For in each lamb’s death, there was the foreshadow of the ultimate sacrifice which would graphically, poignantly, display God’s love to the whole world.

But some who obeyed Judaism’s ritual command did not get the meaning of love.  More concerned about losing a choice animal, they would offer a less than perfect lamb.  Perhaps a hidden blemish, or one who was lame, or with some suspect health issue.  Its life-blood was not precious.  There was no love lost. 

God the Father’s sacrificial Lamb was most precious to Him.  It gave love its severest test.  He had only one First-Born.  Only one Beloved Lamb to sacrifice--His Son.  His love for His Son was stronger and deeper than any man had ever known for family or property, or hopes or dreams.  Yet the Father took His perfect and unblemished Messiah to the World, and offered His innocent life-blood for the “sins of the world.”  NO MORE sacrifices were, are, or ever will be, necessary to bring God to man and man to God.  No other sacrifice could be acceptable.

The blessing is that we can now come to Jesus with all our spots and blemishes and scathing scars.  By accepting Him--His blood sacrifice for our sin--He makes us acceptable to the Father--perfect in our Father’s eyes.  TOTALLY FREE from sin!  We are made new creations.  We can quit trying to impress, measure up, outweigh our bad with good, keep the rules, be better, do better, look better.  It is finished.  Salvation.  Sanctification.  We live forever in the cradle of God’s love.  He takes us from grace to grace and faith to faith.  He leads.  We follow in the wisdom and strength He Himself provides us with.  And since God’s Spirit has poured out God’s love into our hearts, we can now truthfully answer the question, “Do you love this Lamb?” with ...“Yes, I love this Lamb.” 
                                                                                                                                       ~ martha langley