The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
I have the opportunity to tell the story of Jesus twice this week. Half of my group will be out of town this weekend and they came tonight, while the other half will be here tomorrow.
Tonight we talked about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
The Lamb of God.
The culmination of the entire Bible story thus far.
I love to read, and there is nothing better than reaching that part of a good book where all of a sudden everything makes sense. All the loose ends are pulled together and you think, “Oh, THAT is why that happened back in chapter 3. It all makes sense now!”
That’s how I feel about this part of the Bible.
Here’s how story night began tonight:
“Remember Adam and Eve- all the way in the beginning of the story? What happened with them?”
—They ate some fruit and rebelled against God and caused a separation between us and God.
“That rebellion is called sin. Do you remember what the punishment of sin is?”
“How did God make a way for the Israelites to pay for their sin?”
—Sacrifice, they had to kill the best of their flock, like lambs.
“So the death and blood of the lambs paid the price of their sin?”
—Yeah, but only until they sinned again and then they had to kill another lamb.
“Do you remember the special name that John the Baptist called Jesus?”
—The Lamb of God.
“Why do you think he called him that?”
—[silence]……. Because God gave him like a lamb so his blood could pay the price of our sins?
That is the very center of all we believe about God. It speaks of mercy, forgiveness and a love so great that it’s impossible to understand. It is the culmination of a story that was thousands of years in the making. A story of humans longing for what is broken between us and God to be repaired. Generations of families telling the stories passed on by the prophets- God would be sending a Messiah. He would be a redeemer, a healer, a comforter. He would fix what was broken. He would set men free.
What a story. The best I’ve ever read and the very best to tell. The most incredible part? Well, in the words of a 5 year old as she listened to the story tonight, “The best part is, that this story is TRUE.”
“I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”
Have you read the whole story yet? I want to encourage you to read it and share it with those who’ve never heard. There’s nothing that compares with telling people about God’s love for them!!!!
The reality of sacrifice was driven home a few weeks ago when we were able to participate in a traditional Navajo sheep butchering. This is just a part of life here. In fact, when I 1st moved here we saw some sheep and one of the little girls told me that seeing sheep always made her hungry…!
Navajo raise sheep, and have incredible insight into the passages of scripture that deal with shepherding, and they also butcher sheep for food, which gives them insight into the process of sacrifice.
My impressions were that it is heartbreaking to see the life go out of a living thing, and it is SO messy.
Reminds me of the consequences of sin. Heartbreaking, life-taking and messy.
I learned a lot from the Navajo that day. I was sternly instructed by the kids that we had to be silent when the neck was cut out of respect for the life that the sheep was giving up so we could live. The littlest boy present said, “No video games on your phone!” It was silent when the sheep’s life was taken.
Then everyone erupted into a flurry of activity. I was given a knife to help skin it, a task I was not too excited about, but I was glad I jumped in and joined the Navajo.
Then came the teaching. The butchering is traditionally a woman’s job, and it was fun to see the moms of the group explaining the process to their daughters and helping them learn.
It was so interesting to watch and learn. Later that night (with a tummy full of mutton!) I thought about the thousands of animals sacrificed in the temple of God for sin. I can’t even imagine the sight and smell of that. I thought about how heavy the price for sin is. It costs LIFE.
It made me so thankful for the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Once for all.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16