By Jim Biscardi, Jr.
Shortly after God created Adam and Eve, Satan led them into sin, and God told him, “I shall put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15).
Many years later, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, through whom God had promised more descendants for Abraham than the stars in the sky, and blessings for all who blessed them. (Genesis 15:5). As they walked to the land of Moriah together, Isaac asked his father, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering…” God spared Isaac, and supplied a ram –a grown up male sheep – for the sacrifice. (Genesis 22:7, 8, 13)
Years later, God told Moses to have the Israelites who were in bondage in Egypt put the blood of a lamb on the two side posts and the upper door post of the houses. He would send the angel of death to kill the first born in Egypt, but he would pass over and save every house that had the blood of the lamb on it. (Exodus 12:7) He also instituted a series of perpetual blood sacrifices using sheep and other animals for forgiveness of sin.
Years later, God spoke through Isaiah saying, “…unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6).
In the fullness of time, in a small town bustling with so many visitors that it was unnoticed by most, God would fulfill these earlier declarations. Instead of many continuous blood sacrifices for the remission of sin, He would supply His own “Lamb” – His only begotten Son – born sinless of a virgin, in a manger. This “Lamb” was none other than God Himself, the Second Person of the Trinity.
The angel, Gabriel, was sent to a young virgin maiden with this message, “Fear not, Mary…behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus.”
Jesus was born in a stable – more fit for a lamb than a child. Angels announced the birth to shepherds who were the first to behold the “Lamb.” And in time, this “Lamb”, “increased in wisdom and stature [the “Lamb” became a ram], and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). One day Jesus would say, “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11).
When He was about 33 years old, Jesus would voluntarily be cruelly whipped and crucified for us. On the cross, just before giving up His spirit and dying, Jesus declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The work of man’s redemption was finished.
None of the previous sacrifices of lambs and other animals could satisfy God’s judgment for man’s sin. So God, Himself, became that sinless sacrificial Lamb to provide the means for man’s sins to be forgiven forever; and amazingly, for man also to become a child of God (John 1:12). Since then, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Just as Jesus was born in a stable – only fit for animals – so when we first receive Him as Savior, and He is born in our hearts, it begins as a place not fit for the Son of God. As Jesus, the baby “Lamb”, matured, we also are to mature and become like Him. So that, at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2Corinthians 5:10), Jesus will be able to see His image reflected in our lives. This happens as we surrender to the Good Shepherd; and as a flower opens to the sun, so we warmly obey Christ’s commands.
He uses prayer, Word study, fellowship, worship, service, and suffering to transform us into His image by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). In John 14:3, Jesus said that He went away to prepare a place for us in heaven. In John 14: 23, He says that we are to prepare a place for Him in our hearts by “keeping [His] words…”
Jesus took upon Himself all our sin, and shed His blood fully, to satisfy His own standards for judging the world. That standard is that he who sins must die! We all die physically but that meant eternal separation from God with continuous pain and suffering. Christ paid that price for us. After descending into hell, He resurrected from the grave.
This gave us two things: First, the hope that someday our bodies would also be resurrected incorruptible. (1Corinthians 15: 20-22, 51-52). Secondly, because He’s alive and He has sent the Holy Spirit to reside in us, we can be transformed into His image as we surrender our bodies as living sacrifices.
Paul speaks about this when he says, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” (Philippians 3: 8). We say “Christ in us – the hope of glory!” (Colossians 1:27).
Not only has Jesus settled our sin problem, but Revelation 1:8 says that Jesus, the “Lamb” who has become our Good Shepherd, is also the Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and the Ending – the Blessed Controller of all things. He sees the end from the beginning and works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes – everyone who loves and serves Him! (Romans 8:28). That’s really good news!
“Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy.” (Luke 2:10)
As a teacher, author, columnist, and president emeritus of New Jersey Christian Ministries, Jim Biscardi has been “privileged for many years to help Christians grow in their knowledge of Christ.” You can find his books at barnesandnoble.com or amazon.