Lamb of God
Downton Abbey was all the rage from 2012 to 2016. Millions experienced a world that was long since gone. Movies, literature, and more, do that, don't they? They bring us into contact with worlds unknown.
Sometimes the Bible feels like a world unknown. We come across strange phrases, and cultural context can help us understand. The Bible’s truths are timeless. They are, at times, expressed with time-bound figurative language – and that language is often powerful.
I was raised in a small town in New York. When I first began traveling to foreign lands like New York City, it was all new.
I remember my first trip to Little Italy. I was 18. This Irishman thought he knew Italian food - spaghetti. The waitress was kind to me, she said, “Yes you get pasta with dinner, now what do you want?” The food was nothing I had ever eaten before. It was incredible.
I use food as an example, and not just because we are talking about lamb. Consider how we use food in our American culture. What are two of the biggest National holidays? Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. We celebrate Thanksgiving & The Fourth all sorts of ways. Turkey for one, grilled meat for the other.
The food is part of the ritual. The ritual is so we remember.
Every year the Jews celebrated the night they were freed from slavery. Imagine being enslaved for 400 years. Then, one night, God tells you to slaughter a lamb and cook it. (Sorry, no grocery store. You want meat? You kill it). God instructs them to do the strangest thing. Take the blood of the Lamb and put in on your door posts and lintels (See Exodus 12 for the full story). Why? God tells them. The blood will ensure your life as the Angel of Death passes over the land.
Inconceivable? Perhaps. What would you do to be rescued from a life of slavery and death?
People did it. They killed the Lamb (it had to be unblemished), spread its blood on their doors, and the Angel of Death “Passed Over” them. Many Egyptians died that night: so many, that they begged the Jews to leave.
Ever since, Jewish people have been remembering, commemorating, Passover.
Fast-forward centuries. Long past is the great nation of Israel. Long gone is the grandeur of King David and King Solomon. Rome is the new Egypt. Caesar in fact claims to be god. Bow down. Hail Caesar!
Yet through the Prophet Isaiah, the One True God has promised to send someone whom He, God, will Anoint, just as God anointed the kings of old. This Anointed One in another language is pronounced Christos (Christ). This Christos is Messiah and Lamb of God.
God's promise is not just a big dream... it is the Biggest... and when the dream is big enough, you drop everything and follow.