Jesus, Sacrificial Lamb

John the Baptist saw Jesus and proclaimed, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV)

Jesus had to become the sacrificial lamb in order to take away our sin. Why? What does our sin have to do with death and sacrifice?

We talked about God’s holiness and wrath and God being just. Everything about God is true, not just His love and mercy and compassion. He is holy and just. God’s justice demands that a punishment be paid for a crime. You would not think God was a just judge if someone were killing a member of your family each day and God was just forgiving them and letting them continue on! We know instinctively that wouldn’t be justice. It wouldn’t even be good and loving.

Sin requires punishment. Our sin demands our death. Jesus said, “I am the life.” With God is life. Apart from God is death. Sin separates us from God because He is holy and can’t be with sin. God provided a system of substitution, a life for a life, so that the just requirement of the law might be paid by blood, because the life is in the blood. Animal sacrifices were instituted, but that’s not what God wanted. It’s what we needed. However, the blood of lambs and other animals didn’t take away our sin. A better sacrifice was needed.

Jesus was born to die. Jesus said, “For this purpose I have come.” God always had this plan for how our sin had to be dealt with. Then, because of His sacrifice, our sins could be wiped out. In our clean state, we could receive the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. His power in us gives us the power to overcome sin. That was God’s rescue plan.

Read the Scriptures. What does each one tell us about God’s plan for our salvation?

Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Psalms 5:4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

1 John 2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Hebrews 9:12 He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood…

Hebrews 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 2:14 (NLT) He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

1 John 3:5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

1 John 3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

Lesson Point: Jesus bore our punishment for our sin, death, so that our sin could be removed from us, that we might live with Him.

Challenge: Define propitiation and atonement in your own words.