Gen. 22:8 “Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.” (NRSV, emphasis added)
Isaac was a type of Jesus and in today’s scripture reference, Abraham was speaking prophetically when he said, God will provide a lamb for Himself. And that was exactly what happened; even in the time of Abraham, God provided a lamb for Himself. In humanity’s case, it is not the blood of bulls and goats that can make a difference to our sin. It is the spotless Blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, that makes a difference. Totally beautiful! Hesed begins to make a lot more sense; ‘when the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.’ “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” When the person from whom I expect to receive nothing gives me everything!
Let us shift our emphasis to what the Lamb has come to do. John 1:29 “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (NRSV emphasis added). The word “Sin” in this scripture is singular, not plural. It is sin – past, present, and future lumped together, nailed to the cross. Unbelievable! It means that the sin ‘from Adam till rapture’ is nailed to the cross, lumped up in one sacrifice. If this does not get you excited, I do not know what else will. ‘What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the Blood of Jesus.’ In the Old Testament, the concept of ‘atonement’ is the concept of ‘Covering’. In the Old Testament, an atoning sacrifice refers to a sacrifice to cover the sin. But when Jesus came, He became the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, not the Lamb of God that covers the sin of the world. Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
In the New Testament, atonement has the underlining foundation of propitiation. Jesus became the propitiation of our sin. Propitiation is a complex word, complex not in understanding but complex in meaning. Propitiation, on one hand, means to appease the wrath of someone that has been offended. And on the other hand, to restore in fellowship with the person that has been offended. Take the example of a girl that was raped by an uncle and struggles through life. However, she finds Christ and is able to actually forgive. But she is never able to have a relationship with that man again and that is understandable. The absence of a relationship does not mean she has not forgiven. Forgiveness and trust are two totally different things. However, what Jesus did with propitiation is, not only did He bring us forgiveness, He brought us restoration of fellowship with the Father. Our forgiveness is not just about freeing us to go but about freeing us to come into relationship. It is not ‘forgive and go’, it is ‘forgive and stay’. He says, ‘Come close to Me and sit with me.’ Huge!
Prayer [song]: Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your Name (2x). Amen!