Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter 2007--The Choice of the Lamb

What a great and joyful Resurrection Sunday! Our worship services were great--despite every attempt by Satan to frustrate and keep it from happening from bugs in the sound system, microphones, video--to me cutting my final print of my notes practically in half!

There was some great singing--I even was able to sing the high part in a gospel quartet! That was fun. We also and 2 baby dedications! Only one was expected--the other showed up that morning and said--"can we do that too?" I pray that was a blessing to everyone.

Of course, following the service we enjoyed a great lunch over at friends house--Gene & Jean Fields. Thanks for welcoming us into your home.

It was a full service--but we still made sure the Word of God was shared. Here's the message--minus the on the spot stuff.

The Choice of the Lamb

When Jesus lived, lambs were a central part of the spiritual life of Israel. For centuries, Lambs had died for the sins of the nation. Inside the walls of the Temple, two lambs died every day (Exodus 28:29-31), one at 9 a.m. and the other at 3 p.m. When the lamb died, a priest would sound the shofar, a ram’s horn, and even people who didn’t witness the event would realize that a lamb had just died for the sins of the people.

One of the Lingering problems they had in their worship was bringing animals that met God’s Standard—God has a higher standard than the Food & Drug Administration.

They Had a History of being Lax in their standards

Malachi 1:13-14--"When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORD. Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the LORD Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations.

Friday morning, the Perfect Lamb stood before them—one whom John the Baptist had declared—“Look! the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World!” (John 1:29) Next to that Perfect Lamb stood one who had been leading a rebellion, one who had committed murder.

READ Mark 15 :6-11

There they were that Friday morning, standing side by side. Jesus and Barabbas. The Innocent and the Guilty. In many ways He represents all of fallen humanity—the first 2 recorded sins in the Bible are Rebellion and Murder.

Once again, the people, from the leadership down chose what was blemished over what was good. Their Messiah was standing right before their eyes, and they missed it.

But as is so often the case, what they intended for evil, God intended for good. What they rejected as foolish, God intended to show His greater wisdom.

What they rejected as unworthy and unreasonable, God accepted as Holy and Essential

Jesus died while the entire nation of Israel was celebrating Passover. That’s not a mistake or a coincidence. It was the most remarkable object lesson in all of history, and it shouldn’t have surprised those who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus. Isaiah the prophet had included the idea in his writings about the Messiah. The Christ, he said, would be like a lamb led to slaughter (53:7).

Jesus was Rejected by the people, but those words Matthew 28:5-6—“He is not Here, He is Risen!” Proves that Jesus was Accepted by God. If Jesus was not acceptable to God—if He was not a spotless, sinless lamb—He would not have been raised from the dead.

To be Risen meant to be Accepted. The real turn of histories pages occurs here. We mark our Calendar with BC and AD—and we tried to get as close as possible to the year Jesus was born to begin the count. But if there was no Resurrection—the Birth of Jesus would have faded into obscurity as just another 1 in 10 Billion births.

The Resurrection—fulfilling the Promise and Plan of God is the Exclamation Point validating Jesus’ life, ministry and teaching.

To be Risen—for the Tomb to be Empty—meant that Who Jesus Is—the Lamb of God—What He did—take away the Sins of the World—was accepted by the Father.

The Risen Lamb truly covered over sin—Isaiah promises that though our “sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”—Is. 1:18b And that Jesus was “Pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the Punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed.”—53:5

The Risen Lamb lets us Approach the Throne of Grace with Confidence—Ephesians 3:12—In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

The Risen Lamb Has Defeated Death—Death Has been swallowed up in Victory—Where o Death is your victory? Where o death is your sting… thanks be to God, He gives us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Corinthians 15:55-56

The Risen Lamb makes us Acceptable

1PE 2:4 As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-- 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6

The Risen Lamb is the Promise of Life—“whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Now, the Lamb of God sits at the triumphant right hand of God the Father. Jesus is powerful, majestic, and completely worthy of worship. The song of heaven is this, according to Revelation 5:13 …

"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!"

The resurrection made the difference. There’s a sense that the rules all changed with the resurrection. Never again would the life of the disciples, the world be the same.

It’s Easter that made the difference! The Resurrection is God’s Stamp of Approval. It is the Promise of Victory—because if Jesus has been raised, the Promise that we will also be raised is assured. Jesus Came Out Alive!!!

Barabbas was one the people wanted instead of Jesus—in many ways He represents all of fallen humanity—the first 2 recorded sins in the Bible are Rebellion and Murder. And just as the crowd stood that day with a decision—did they want Jesus or Barabbas—you must answer the same question—do you want Jesus and the Victory He brings or do you want to continue to live in the old life of sin and death.

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