This week, we celebrate the apex of all history. The events 21 centuries ago divided history in two…. BC and AD. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus provided hope for all who believe in Him. The gates to eternity with God in Heaven were thrown open wide. Death had lost its effectiveness in threatening mankind with the dark, cold, emptiness of the grave. Life had come! Jesus Christ rose from the dead and promised that same life abundant and eternal to all that repented of sin, trusted in His powerful work of redemption by dying for us, and coming alive again.
According to Exodus 12, the family was to select the lamb and bring it home to be under their care in their home for five days (10th through the 14th day of Nisan). The reason for doing so was to allow them time to inspect the lamb to make sure it had no defects that would preclude it being an acceptable sacrifice. However, when a family keeps a young animal in their home for four days and has to let it go on the fifth day, the family gets attached to it. The children want to hold it, walk it, and play with it. The mother of the home had a pain in her heart each time she looks at the young, innocent animal knowing that very shortly, that little lamb was going to be killed. The father, because he loves his children, finds it hard to tell the children on the last day before taking the lamb away, that all their pleas to allow them to keep the lamb cannot and will not be honored. That lamb must die. So, did the Lamb of God!
It is not hard to feel what these Jewish families felt every Passover. Most of us have had dogs, cats, or some other animal that we made our pets. They become as much a part of our home as our family. When we come in the door, they run to meet us. When we sit in the evenings in the family room, they want to be near us or have us play with them. Several times through the day, someone lets them outside for a walk and gives them a treat when they “do what they need to do” outside. We come to expect their company and when they get to the point of death, there is grief.
Our Heavenly Father chose an animal for the Passover Sacrifice that is truly gentle, trusting, and easy for children and adults to approach without fear. No one has ever heard of any sheep or flock of sheep that was engaged in any kind of violent attack. They literally will die without even a whimper.
That is the picture God wanted the Jewish people to see annually. This lamb you selected has done nothing wrong. It does not have the nature to fight or harm anyone. Yet, you and I have willfully sinned against God and man. Because the demands of disobeying the laws of a Sovereign is death, this innocent lamb will die as if it had committed the violation. The lamb will not resist dying in the place of the sinner. He will do so because his record is clean. There is no blemish that a lamb has. The lamb must die so that the man can live.
That is the story of the Gospel. The Lamb of God died to satisfy the judgment against sin and to set men free from its crippling effect and penalties. Those that knew the Lamb of God could not bear the thoughts that he was crucified. He had done no wrong, yet He was treated as if He was the worst of the worst offenders ever. The blood He shed covered our sins, paid our debt, and expunged and cleansed our iniquities by His sacrifice. The Apostle John would write, “What manner of love is this!” Indeed….it is a love unlike any other…the love of God that will not let us go!