Jesus as the human embodiment of God’s
unconditional love for us.
Jesus rescues us from our wrongdoings, our sins.
Jesus’ death pays the price.
It is recommended that readers should first gain a quick overview of Christianity by accessing the lead article of this section of the website, “Christianity explained”, before reading this one.
The actual term, “Lamb of God” has its origin in the Bible’s Old Testament (the pre-Jesus part of the Bible, also relevant to the Jewish religion). The Jewish Passover festival, which is still practised by Jews, celebrates how God rescued them from slavery in Egypt. Originally, the blood of slaughtered lambs was used by the Jews to protect the lives of their ‘newborn’.
The term was also used in the Bible’s New Testament. These words came from the Book of John:
The next day John saw Jesus coming
toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world!”
2. HISTORY OF THE JEWISH PASSOVER
Now, God threatened to bring deadly action upon the Egyptians’ children if the Jews were not freed from slavery. The Jews were told by God that the sign of lambs’ blood upon doorways, to Jewish households, would save their children from that same ‘deadly action’ as it swept through the land of Egypt.
The custom of slaughtering/ sacrificing lambs, and then feasting upon them, has continued on as part of the ‘Jewish Passover’ festival until this present time.
3. JESUS AS OUR SACRIFICIAL LAMB
We are told in the New Testament (the actual Jesus bits of the Bible) that Jesus had celebrated the Jewish Passover festival just before he was arrested for sentencing and eventual death by crucifixion. Jesus’ death on the cross, due to its timing on or around the Passover, is understood by Christians as a ‘symbolic analogy’ to the Jewish sacrificial lamb.
Christians believe that Easter has a similar meaning for them as the Passover does for the Jews. That is they are rescued from their sins by Jesus’ death on the cross, as John explained, making him their sacrificial “Lamb of God”. In other words, God in human form had his blood spilt for us. The article, “Justified and saved by grace” explains how Christians are saved from eternal death through God’s grace (which is, in the context of this article, ‘entwined’ with Jesus’ self sacrifice for us).
Jesus can then rightly be seen as God’s ‘sacrificial lamb’. However, we as Christians need to think even beyond this. We need to understand that although Jesus may be ‘one’ with the same God worshipped by the followers of all monotheist religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), it is through Jesus as ‘the Word‘ and as a ‘person of the Holy Trinity‘ that we see him in a new and VERY special way.
As a result of the Bible’s wording, we do come to see Jesus as the embodiment of God’s unconditional love and self sacrifice for his children (i.e. us). I will finish this article with more words from John the Apostle, written in the form of a letter within the Bible. These words were believed to be written well after the verses from the Book of John, that are stated in the intro above (written by the same author though).
My dear children, I write this to you
so that you will not sin.
But if anybody does sin, we have one
who speaks to the Father in our
defence – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not only for ours but also the sins
of the whole world.
[1 John 2:1-2]