When I look at those lambs I can’t help but think of Jesus and the words of John the Baptist in John 1:29 which states: “Behold, the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”
Under the old covenant of the law, when the people sinned they had to take a perfect animal without spot or blemish, such as a lamb, goat, or calf, and offer it to the priest as a sacrifice for their sins. The priest would then examine the animal to see if it was perfect enough. If so, the animal would be killed as an atonement for the person who had done the sin. In a sense, the sins of the person transferred over to that perfect animal and the righteousness of the animal was then passed over to the person it was being sacrificed on behalf of.
They also had various other times they had to offer up animals as sacrifices. And once a year, at the Day of Atonement, the high priest went into the Holiest of Holies to offer up a sacrifice for his own sins and for the sins of the people that they didn’t even know they had committed. All those sacrifices could never make the people perfect because their sins were never removed but only temporarily covered by the animal blood (Romans 10:1-2, 4).
That was symbolic of what Jesus would do under the new covenant. Under the new covenant, not only did Jesus become our high priest but He also became our sacrificial lamb. He entered the holiest of holies for us and made Himself the sacrifice on our behalf. At His death, the veil of the temple was torn in two, making it possible now for us to freely approach God because our sins have been atoned for by the perfect blood of Jesus. But this time, the sacrifice didn’t result in a temporary covering of sin but a permanent removal of them.
Hebrews 9:11-12 says it so well: “But Christ came as high priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the most holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
With His own blood He offered up eternal redemption for all who will receive it. Not temporary redemption until we sin and have to offer up another sacrifice like under the old covenant, but permanent, eternal redemption. Too often we act like what Jesus did wasn’t enough, like He has to come back and be sacrificed again every time we sin. No, He did it once for all (Hebrews 7:27, 9:25, 10:10,12) and His sacrifice was more than enough.
If the blood of a sacrifice temporary cleansed their consciences, how much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Hebrews 8:14)? As believers we should not walk around with guilt, condemnation, and sin on our conscience but rather with forgiveness on our conscience because of what our perfect lamb did for us. We also should no longer approach God by our performance thinking it will somehow make us right with Him. No, Jesus was perfect in our place and took all our sin on His body and gave us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now, because it has already been done, we can shout with a heart full of praise and thanksgiving, “Behold, the lamb of God who took away my sin once and for all.”
Father, I pray for your children to step out from the old covenant of the law and into your new covenant of grace by grasping the incredible gift that you have given us through your son Jesus. He has become our mediator of a better covenant, established on better promises (Hebrews 8:6) and offers us eternal redemption rather than a temporary covering. Thank you Lord!
Published: March 21, 2016