By Pastor Mike Taylor
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
35Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
36And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” John 1:29-36)
John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah, to proclaim the coming of our Lord, and made His pathway straight. Jesus was truly the Lamb of God, and during this time of year, we memoralize in contrite, humble and thankful hearts that Jesus loved us, before we loved Him. ..
OUR PASSOVER IS SLAIN FOR US
But what of this sacrifice that Jesus made. Many scoff at the notion of one Man being able to cleanse a person of their sins and make them whole again before an Almighty God. Even in the ancient days after this act of unselfish love was completed, men couldn't not fathom why this new Christian sect was behaving such as they were. One of the crimes that was ascribed to the early Christians was that Christian worship services included the practice of cannabalism.
Christians were labeled to repeat the sacrifice of Jesus and then eat the body and drink the blood of its victim.
It's all very vague, but all that the Roman population knew about Christianity was that it place a huge emphasis on the value of blood sacrifice. Even today, in our so called “modern” world it is still slammed by its critics as a bloody religion because the Bible seems to be so obsessed by it. As the opening verses attest, the Bible is dependent on the blood, “for without blood, there is no remission of sins”.
Without the shedding of blood, can there never be forgivenes, there can be no regeneraton, no peace, no joy, no rest, no hope, and certainly no Resurrection from the dead. Through out the whole of the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as that sinless “LAMB of GOD” and the title is always associated with His atoning work on the Cross, in which He shed His precious blood as full payment for the sins of the world....for your sins, for my sins.
Remove the Blood Doctrine of Jesus shedding His blood and the Doctrine of Atonement goes with it. If one breaks down the word Atonement into its component parts, the word defines itself according to its original meaning “At One Ment” We are made at one with God the Father through the sacrifice of His Son. We were separated from God through our first human parents, Adam and Eve, when they chose to rebel against the only commandment that was given to them.
Adam and Eve were told that the penalty for breaking God's command not to violate the Tree of Knowledge was death.
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:17)God made provision for their sin, killing two animals and covering their nakedness with their skins. That was the first blood shed to cover sin, and God set up a system of sacrifice whereby the blood of bullocks, goats and lambs kept that one Great Object Lesson before the people.
Sin has a blood penalty, and the penalty must be paid.
IN TIME OF ABRAHAM
In Genesis Chapter 15, we find Abram questioning God's promise that his seed will be numbered as the stars of heaven and that they would inherit the land to which God had led him.....Not that Abraham didn't have faith that God was able to do exactly what He said He was going to do, but wanted to know how would this be accomplished. ..Remember the story?
3”And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
7And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
8And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? (Genesis 15:3-8)
Even though Abraham believed God, He wanted a guarantee, nonetheless of how this was to be accomplished. It was at this point, that God proposed a blood covenant after the manner of the Chaldeans. This was something Abraham was familiar with....And God said :
9” And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
10And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
11And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
12And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.” (Genesis 15:9-12)The blood covenant worked this way. The animals were slaughtered and cut up. The pieces were intermingled and then carefully arranged to form a kind of aisle through which the two parties to the covenant would walk together, hands joined.
The principle of a blood covenant, and the symbolism of the rended animal parts was clearly understood to Abram. Whoever broke the covenant would end up like those piles of animals.
A blood covenant was, by common custom, a joining of 2 or more persons, families, clans, tribes, or nations, where the participants agree to do or refrain from doing certain acts.
More specifically, God had proposed a patriarchal covenant. The patriarchal form of covenant is a self-imposed obligation of a superior party, to the benefit of an inferior party.
In this form, the terms the parties use to refer to each other are: father and son.
God's proposal included not only Abram, but extended to Abram's seed forever.
Abraham waited for God to show up so they could bind the covenant between them. But as night began to fall, Abraham became sleep and great sleep fell upon him. As Abraham slept, he awoke to see what was happening and the Bible records it.
"it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:" (Genesis 15:17-18)
Althought the covenant was between God and Abram (and the seed God promised would fill the earth, as the stars of heaven), God signed on both sides of the covenant, thereby binding Himself to both parts. As history sadly records, Abram and his seed did not remain faithful to this covenant, and the penalty for violating a blood covenant was death.
God knew before the foundation of the world, that man was not able to keep this blood covenant, nor had the ability to save himself by any action on his part. So God stepped out of eternity and entered into our space and time, to keep the provisions of the original blood covenant and be a true Son, as it demanded.
And having kept its terms on behalf of sinful humanity, it was incumbent upon Him to make payment, as justice demanded, for its violation by those on whose behalf the covenant was signed.
It nearly breaks my heart when I comtemplate on that I put my Lord Jesus through such a torture for the like of one such as I. Even as a small boy, when read from my mother's bible story book and we read the details of what Jesus allowed Himself to endure, it brought tears to my eyes...and you know...it's still does when I ponder such great love and the suffering He went through, just to save a worm like me.
6 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:6-9)
JESUS FULFILLED THE BLOOD COVENANT
To be torn and rended like the animals that formed the corridor through which God alone passed. Isaiah gives us a hint of what Jesus had to go through in chapter 53:
5"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with His stripes we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5-11)
It may seem a bit unclear, as to how can an innocent man assume the guilt of anther and call it justice?Thinking on that premise, when a person becomes a Christian, he becomes a part of the Body of Christ. He is joined with Christ, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He becomes 'one with Christ'.
Let's make a real life example, that may or may not have actually happened, but illustrates the point. Suppose a debt ridden widow lived next door to a millionaire. Her debts could not be justly charges to him. BUT, if he was to marry her, legally and justly, he assumed the responsibility for both her assets and her debts. Then speaking of sinful mankind who was dead in their sins, because of the transgressions of the law, because that is what sin is.
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law (our first husband) by the body of Christ (that is by Christ's death); that ye should be married to another, even to Him (Christ) who is raised from the dead." (Romans 7:4)
As was written by Clarence Larkin back in 1911,
As sinners we were under the "curse of the Law," but as believers-- "Christ hath redeemed us from the CURSE of the Law, being made a CURSE for us:
12 “And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. (although none of us could keep the law) emphasis mine.
13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:12-14)
The "Tree" that Christ hung on was the CROSS.
We are therefore DEAD to the Law: not physically dead, but JUDICIALLY dead, for the "Penalty" of a law cannot be exacted twice. If Jesus "bare our sins in His own body upon the Tree" (1st Peter 2:24), then they are no longer upon us and we are free from sin. The death of Christ was no mere accident or incident, it was predetermined from the foundation of the world.
18 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1st Peter 1:18-21)
In the words of the old Gospel song,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. . .
Oh! precious is the flow; That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know . . .
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?
If you contemplate the wonderful words that show how Jesus was foreordained to be the propitiation or substitute for our penalty that was most deserving for each one who has transgressed God's Holy Law, as sin is the transgression of the Law, then you can see, that the only remedy for our redemption was in a blood covenant satisified in justice before a Holy God. It was the death and resurrection of our Lord God, Jesus Christ for the payment for our sins, once and for all. One time, for all eternity was this payment made, when Jesus said “it is finished” it was most certainly completed.
13”And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-15)
What were those ordinances that were against us and what did He nail to His cross...? Our sins, the penalty of those sins that condemned us to the same kind of death as those sacrficial animals. Jesus paid the ultimate price. And during this season of the coming “Passover of God” let us humble ourselves and give thanks and rededicate ourselves to serving a Great God and King, our Lord Jesus Christ...don't just take those emblems of what Jesus did , without a deep reflection of the enormous gift that He gave to each of us, written in His own Blood.
“ 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you will receive the blood covenant found in Jesus Christ my Lord this season where we remember His supreme sacrifice. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, . God bless you all,