More / Book of the Month / Our Lamb / Isaiah 53 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Friday April 15th 2022 / Good Friday / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Our Lamb / Isaiah 53 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Friday April 15th 2022 / Good Friday / Mount Olive Lutheran Church




Our Lamb / Isaiah 53 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Friday April 15th 2022 / Good Friday / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Text: Isaiah 53
Theme: “Our Lamb”
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Intr – If you own a dog, or a cat, if you have a pet on any kind (if you don’t, think about people you know that own one), you know how much esteemed they are in the household; how they can be a good company, the way they can be helpful to their owners. In some cases people say they are even a member of the family.

Now I have a question for you: would you give that pet up as a sacrifice for Easter? A question like that sounds even rude and discomforting these days. I think I know what the answer would be.

        But what if it was a lamb? What if you would have to sacrifice a lamb for Easter, one that was inside your house living with your family?

 1 - THE LAMB of GOD

We learn from Isaiah, and many other parts of the Scripture, that a lamb was sacrificed on Good Friday. It was not only “a” Lamb, but the Lamb. Christ, the Lamb of God. Where does that picture come from? We know it from Exodus, when the first lamb was sacrificed the night before Israel was freed by Yahweh from is slavery in Egypt, and then all the Passovers thereafter. There were specific instruction Israel received from God about how to celebrate Passover with the sacrificial Lamb.

I wanted to bring to you is some context about how things were done on Jesus’ times by the Jewish people so that you beter understand my introduction about pets: “The Sabbath that immediately precedes the festival of Passover was called the “Great Sabbath” (Shabbat HaGadol: שבת הגדול), in honor of the time when the first generation set aside the lamb for the Passover Sacrifice (i.e., korban Pesach: קרבן פסח). During the time of the Temple it was customary to obtain the Korban Pesach (i.e., Passover lamb) four days before Passover so that worshipers could make sure that their lambs had no blemishes which would preclude them from being offered as sacrifices. This was done to fulfill the instructions given in Exodus 12 that the lamb for Passover be “without spot or blemish.”  Interestingly, this period of time allowed time for each family to become personally attached to their lamb, so that it would no longer simply be “a lamb” (Exod. 12:3) but rather their lamb” (Exod. 12:5). Indeed the OT refers to "the" Lamb of God, as if there was only one: "You shall keep it [the Passover lamb] until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall slaughter him (אתוֹ) at twilight (Exod. 12:6).”[1]

In this light we can see that Great Shabbat as a prelude to the offering of Jesus as the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world. The New Testament notes that it was a few days before Passover when Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah.[2] During this time, when the pilgrims had come to select the lamb for the Passover sacrifice - they saw Jesus and cried out: hoshiah na (הושׁיעה נא), meaning "please save" or "save now". The people spontaneously began singing Psalm 118:25-26 in anticipation of the fulfillment of the great Messianic hope. [3]

It’s worth noticing also that between Jess triumphal entry and his crucifixion there were 4 days. We could think here of the Lamb being “evaluated” by the leaders to see if he could be the spotless, perfect Lamb that would be slaughtered for the sins of the people. They did eventually send Him to be killed, on a cross. But we know it was for the wrong reasons on their part.

Jesus is the Lamb of God. He is also OUR Lamb. Can you imagine Him being sent to slaughter and being sacrificed on a terrible death on the cross? If we would feel sick to our stomach if our beloved pet would have to be sacrificed, how much more pain and sorrow we feel seeing OUR Lamb, our beloved, perfect Lamb being nailed to a cross as a criminal,  in a gruesome spectacle before the eyes of the nations?

Then, if that would happen to us, or to our pets, we would certainly seek to know who was responsible for it. Now, who was to be held responsible and accountable for Christ’s death on that cross? A Roman Soldier _The Jewish Leaders _The omission of Pilate _ the Crowds?

As Christians we know the answer. From the Historical perspective all those aforementioned answers are correct. Jesus is an historical person who was summarily judged and executed under human laws. He was nailed to a cross by real human beings. But we know well what the cause of Christ’s crucifixion really was: our sins. “Deeply believe and never doubt the least, that you are the one who thus martyred Christ. For your sins most surely did it… Therefore, when you view the nails piercing through his hands, firmly believe it is your work. Do you behold his crown of thorns, believe the thorns are your wicked thoughts, etc.”[4] Jesus was slaughtered as the Lamb of God on that Friday because of our sins. This is what we hear from Isaiah today: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”[5]

2 – OUR LAMB

Good Friday is the day we contemplate in sorrow and even terror what was done to the Lamb of God who becomes OUR Lamb. Our Saviour. Our Christ. But this is the day in which we also contemplate the benefits of the Lamb, especially in the perspective of Easter morning.

On this day we are reminded that we can cast your sins from ourselves upon Christ, we can believe with a festive spirit that our sins are his wounds and sufferings, that he carries them and makes satisfaction for them, as Isa. 53:6 says: “and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all;” and St. Peter in his 1st Epistle 2:24: “ He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.; and St. Paul in 2 Cor. 5:21: “For our sake he made him to be sin rwho knew no sin, so that in him we might become sthe righteousness of God..” Upon these passages, and similar ones, we can rely with all our weight.[6]       

It is a fact though that, for different circumstances in life, doubt may come to us, or even disbelief in this work Christ has done. It may happen to any of us at anytime. It could be that it would sound too fantastic; or that people would try to root us up from what they would consider a childish tale of a thief that was God dying on a cross saving the world; or that we are going through difficult times and having a hard time to believe in God and see Him all through it.[7] When times like these arrive at our heart, when we feel we are not able to believe, then we should pray to God for faith. For this is a matter in the hands of God that is entirely free, and is also bestowed alike at times knowingly, at times secretly.[8] Our faith rests in Him, as does the strength we need in life to carry on in faith and love. We can rely in what we know, even when we don’t feel it. It certainly won’t be easy often times, but it will always be full of Grace, profitable and life-long lasting.

Good Friday is the day we contemplate suffering. The Lamb of God, silent, being slaughtered in our place. Thanks be to God though that in Jesus God has already provided Easter Day too. We don’t want to dwell in Christ’s sufferings any longer; for they have already done their work and terrified us; but we can press through all difficulties and behold his friendly heart full of love toward us. His love led him to bear the heavy load of your conscience and your sin. Thus our heart will be loving and sweet toward him, and the assurance of our faith be strengthened.[9]

This faith and certainty gives foundation to our daily life. We are called Christians because we incorporate the life and name of Christ into our own life,[10] For Christ’s Passion must be dealt with not in words, or show, or just by appearances. It becomes reality in our lives and in truth.[11] Let’s not have the essence changed into a mere show, and painted the meditation of Christ’s sufferings only in letters and on walls,”[12] but with golden letters all over our hearts.

Cc – Dear friends, we don’t need to give up pets for Easter. We don’t need any rituals; no animals, no food, no drinks, no nothing. We don’t need to sacrifice a Passover lamb anymore, for Our Lamb, Christ, hangs on that Cross. Our sins are taken away, and we have all the forgiveness and peace our hearts need. He is The Lamb of God who becomes Our Lamb, our perfect, spotless, loving, caring Lamb who calls us His Sheep as we hear His voice. In Him we rely, we rest and rejoice.

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[1] Note that the direct object "him" (i.e., oto) can be read as Aleph-Tav (את) combined with the letter Vav (ו), signifying the Son of Man who is First and Last.  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10158756048882810&id=56347292809
[2] Op. cit. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9)
[3] Op.cit.
[4] Thus St. Peter struck and terrified the Jews as with a thunderbolt in Acts 2:36-37, when he spoke to them all in common: “Him have ye crucified,” so that three thousand were terror-stricken the same day and tremblingly cried to the apostles: “O beloved brethren what shall we do?” Martin Luther: Christ's Holy Sufferings—Isaiah 53:8.
From: https://martinlutherpostil.com/Palm%20Sunday%20and%20Good%20Friday.pdf Accessed in: April, 2022
[5] Christ's Holy Sufferings—Isaiah 53:8.
From: https://martinlutherpostil.com/Palm%20Sunday%20and%20Good%20Friday.pdf Accessed in: April, 2022.  “Now see, where one thorn pierces Christ, there more than a thousand thorns should pierce thee, yea, eternally should they thus and even more painfully pierce thee. Where one nail is driven through his hands and feet, thou shouldest eternally suffer such and even more painful nails; as will be also visited upon those who, let Christ’s sufferings be lost and fruitless as far as they are concerned. For this earnest mirror, Christ, will neither lie nor mock; whatever he says must be fully realized.
[6] Martin Luther. Op.cit.
[7] Martin Luther. Op.cit. “For hitherto we have considered Christ’s Passion as a sacrament that works in us and we suffer; now we consider it, that we also work, namely thus: if a day of sorrow or sickness weighs you down, think, how trifling that is, compared with the thorns and nails of Christ. If you must do or leave undone what is distasteful to you: think, how Christ was led hither and thither, bound and a captive. Does pride attack you: behold, how your Lord was mocked and disgraced with murderers. Do unchastity and lust thrust themselves against you: think, how bitter it was for Christ to have his tender flesh torn, pierced and beaten again and again. Do hatred and envy war against you, or do you seek vengeance: remember how Christ with many tears and cries prayed for you and all his enemies, who indeed had more reason to seek revenge. If trouble or whatever adversity of body or soul afflict you, strengthen your heart and say: Ah, why then should I not also suffer a little since my Lord sweat blood in the garden because of anxiety and grief? That would be a lazy, disgraceful servant who would wish to lie in his bed while his lord was compelled to battle with the pangs of death.”
[8] Martin Luther, Christ's Holy Sufferings—Isaiah 53:8.
From: https://martinlutherpostil.com/Palm%20Sunday%20and%20Good%20Friday.pdf Accessed in: April, 2022
[9] Martin Luther. op.cit. “Christ would not have been able to love you if God had not willed it in eternal love, to which Christ is obedient in his love toward you; there you will find the divine, good father heart, and, as Christ says, be thus drawn to the Father through Christ. Then will you understand the saying of Christ in John. 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,” etc. That means to know God aright, if we apprehend him not by his power and wisdom, which terrify us, but by his goodness and love; there our faith and confidence can then stand unmovable and man is truly thus born anew in God.”
[10] as St. Paul says in Gal 5:24: “And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.”
[11] Martin Luther, op.cit. “Thus St. Paul admonishes us in Heb. 12:3: “For consider him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against himself, that ye wax not weary, fainting in your souls;” and St. Peter in his 1st Epistle 4:1 [1Pe 4:1]: “As Christ suffered in the flesh, arm ye yourselves also with the same mind.”
[12] Martin Luther, op.cit.

 

Source of the Lamb picture
 


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