Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
The New Testament speaks of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. This precious name, Lamb of God, is full of significance. In this post, we’ll look at portions from the Bible and notes in the New Testament Recovery Version to see why Jesus is called the Lamb of God. The more we understand this name, the more we’ll love our Lord Jesus and appreciate what He did for us.
Mankind’s fall in Genesis
To begin to comprehend the deep significance and meaning of the name Lamb of God, we first have to go back to Genesis 3.
After God created Adam and Eve, He put them in the garden of Eden, with the tree of life at its center. That tree represented the eternal, divine life of God. God wanted to share His life with them and be everything to them. By partaking of that tree, Adam and Eve would be made one with God. God would become their life, and they would express Him in their living. This was His plan for all mankind.
Also in the garden was another tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which represented Satan, God’s enemy, as the source of death. God created Adam and Eve with a free will and wanted them to partake of Him as the tree of life. But He also specifically warned them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, telling them that if they did, they would surely die.
Sadly, we know that Satan, God’s enemy, deceived Eve, and she and Adam disobeyed God and ate of that tree. As a result, they were poisoned with the sinful nature of Satan. And since Adam represented all mankind, the entire human race was included.
God is righteous and holy; He cannot tolerate sin. His righteousness doesn’t allow Him to simply overlook sin. So Adam and Eve were under the sentence of death. But God didn’t want the human beings He so lovingly created to die. So what could He do?
God didn’t give up. Instead, He made Adam and Eve coats out of the skin of an animal to cover them. Of course, that animal had to be killed for this to happen. Based on the subsequent revelation in the Bible, the animal was probably a lamb.
That guiltless animal was killed and died for Adam and Eve, the guilty ones. Its blood was shed on their behalf.
Surely what Adam and Eve witnessed God do for them made a deep impression on them. In turn, their son Abel became a shepherd and raised sheep. Abel understood that he needed a lamb to be sacrificed in his place before God.
From then on, throughout the Old Testament time, this was God’s way for His people to come before Him. No one could come to God without offering an animal sacrifice to Him to die in the offerer’s place. Often, it was a lamb. Sinful human beings could be accepted by God only through the death of that animal.
But the animals the people of God offered up in Old Testament time was only a temporary solution. These offerings were also just a picture of the coming Christ, the reality of that sacrifice, in the New Testament time.
Jesus, the Lamb of God
Hebrews 9:22 tells us:
“And almost all things are purified by blood according to the law, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness; this principle was manifested with Adam and Eve in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, that principle remains.
Let’s read note 1 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version:
“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Without forgiveness of sins there is no way for the requirement of God’s righteousness to be fulfilled that the covenant may be enacted. But Christ’s blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins, and the covenant was enacted with His blood (Matt. 26:28).”
In the New Testament, Christ, not an animal, is the true sacrifice who shed His blood for us to fulfill God’s righteous requirement. Through His death and the shedding of His blood for us, we can have the forgiveness of our sins.
In John 1:29, when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he emphatically declared:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. Who is Jesus? He’s the eternal, divine Son of God. How could He be the Lamb of God who could take away the sin of the world? By becoming a man in His incarnation, He put on a physical body of flesh and blood so He could die for us.
And in 1 Peter 2:22-24 we see the kind of life Jesus the Lamb of God lived and His death on the cross:
“Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth; who being reviled did not revile in return; suffering, He did not threaten but kept committing all to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore up our sins in His body on the tree, in order that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose bruise you were healed.”
Jesus committed no sin and lived a blameless life on this earth. Being without sin, He alone was qualified to die for fallen mankind and shed His precious blood to take away the sin of the world.
The guiltless Lamb of God, died for us, the guilty sinners. When Jesus was on the cross, God put the sins of all mankind on Him as the sacrificial Lamb of God.
Isaiah 53:5-7 foretold the death of the Lamb of God:
“But He was wounded because of our transgressions; He was crushed because of our iniquities; the chastening for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we have been healed. We all like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way, and Jehovah has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed, and it was He who was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.”
Jesus the Lamb of God was wounded and crushed for the sins of the world. Consider how heavy the load of sin of all mankind that was laid upon our dear Savior!
While Jesus was bearing the sins of the whole world, God judged Him as our Substitute. This is why at a certain point, Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” God had to forsake Jesus on the cross because at that time He was taking the place of all sinners.
This is how Jesus accomplished a perfect and eternal redemption.
When we realize the meaning of Jesus being the Lamb of God, how could our hearts not be touched? How could we not love Him?
When we repent and believe in Jesus we’re saved from God’s eternal judgment. And even from then on, as we go on in our Christian life, we should always remember that we approach God and fellowship with Him not because of any merit of our own but because of the precious shed blood of the Lamb of God. We can see this throughout the New Testament.
The Lamb for all eternity
In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we saw the picture of the Lamb of God. In the New Testament, we see Jesus is the Lamb of God, the reality of that picture.
Then Revelation, the last book of the Bible, chapter 22 verse 1 speaks about eternity future:
“And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.”
This shows us that Jesus is not only the Lamb of God for mankind today but will forever be the Lamb of God.
Note 5 in the New Testament Recovery Version is a wonderful note about the throne. It says:
“The throne of God and of the Lamb, showing that there is one throne for both God and the Lamb, indicates that God and the Lamb are one—the Lamb-God, the redeeming God, God the Redeemer. In eternity the very God who sits on the throne is our redeeming God, from whose throne proceeds the river of water of life for our supply and satisfaction. This depicts how the Triune God—God, the Lamb, and the Spirit, who is symbolized by the water of life—dispenses Himself to His redeemed under His headship (implied in the authority of the throne) for eternity.”
Jesus is the Lamb of God for all eternity. He’s our Redeemer. The Lamb is on the throne, and we redeemed ones will enjoy the river of water of life flowing from that throne for our eternal supply and satisfaction.
How you can personally know the Lamb of God
If you’ve never heard of Jesus being the Lamb of God who died for you, you may be wondering how you can know Him and be forgiven of your sins.
For you to personally receive what Jesus did for you, you need to repent. To repent means to turn from going your own way and turn to God, admitting that you are a sinner. You also must believe in Jesus and accept all He did for you. This is how you can receive the Lamb of God as your Savior and be forgiven of your sins.
We encourage you to simply open your heart and pray this prayer:
“Lord Jesus, I repent of my life away from You. I turn to You right now. I confess I’m a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Lord Jesus, I believe in You. Thank You for being the Lamb of God. Thank You for dying on the cross for me. I receive You as my Savior. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.”
We hope this post has helped you to understand more about Jesus being the Lamb of God. May our hearts be filled with thankfulness and our mouths with praise to Him! If you live in Australia, you can order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version here to read the verses referenced in this post together with their notes to gain a deeper understanding of the Lamb of God. If you want to know more about what Jesus did for you, we encourage you to read the post Why Did Jesus Have to Die on the Cross?
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