This weekend, my family will help scatter thousands of eggs over fields in our town, eggs filled with sweet treats for the special kids who find them. The sight of brightly-colored eggs lying in fresh cut grass and little toddler legs running after them is by far one of my favorites. I love to see all the Easter baskets, bigger than the kids who carry them, filled to overflowing.
And don’t get me started on Easter dresses. Or bonnets.
We’ve been stuffing eggs full of it for weeks now. Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights at church and here at home, too.
And not because we want all the kids in our community to meet the Easter Bunny.
We want them to meet the Lamb.
What does a Lamb Have to Do with Easter Anyway?
In our culture, we often associate Easter with bunnies, baby chicks, and lambs leaping through spring fields filled with flowers. It’s completely cute but not completely accurate.
The picture of the Lamb that best represents Easter doesn’t really resemble the bulletin board decorations of most kindergarten classrooms.
So what does it look like?
God Provides the Lamb
From the beginning to the end, God’s word gives us glimpses of what the Lamb looks like. I thought this would be the perfect week to look a bit more closely at Him.
Travel back with me to the book of Genesis (Chapter 22), where we meet Abraham, who believed God and followed him from one land to another, holding tight to the promise that he would be the father of nations.
But he had to be a father first.
He and his wife waited years. Time ticked by slowly as years turned to decades, and when the promise was finally fulfilled, Abraham was “as good as dead,” according to Hebrews 11.
But the promise was fulfilled nonetheless.
Abraham had a son, and he treasured him.
So imagine how he felt when the Lord asked him to sacrifice his son, his only son, the one for whom he’d waited.
But Abraham obeyed for the same reason he’d left Ur: he believed.
We hear his faith in the words of reply he made to his son’s simple question. Isaac asked, “The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham simply said, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.”
And God did. He stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, and “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Verses above found in Genesis 22:7-14)
There was still a sacrifice, but it was a lamb instead of Isaac. God provided a substitution.
The Lamb Takes Away Our Sins
Many years later, Abraham’s descendents were still following. Sometimes in faith; often in fear. God led them by day and by night. He gave them his law and told them to live by it.
Still, they sinned so they needed sacrifices. God’s law required different sacrifices for different sins. He gave Moses detailed instructions about how his people were to approach him and when they were allowed to do so.
Before Aaron could enter the holy place, blood was shed to sanctify him.
There was no sanctification without sacrifice.
The sin had to be removed; it had to be taken away.
So, back then, the priest would actually confess the sins of the people over the head of a goat and send it out into the wilderness, sending their sins away with it. (Leviticus 16:20-22)
The sins of the people were gone, but the next year, they had to do these same things all over again.
The Lamb Died Once for All
After all, “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. For this reason, it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:1-4)
Isaiah realized the need for permanent perfection, for real redemption. He prophesied that God would provide just that when he wrote, “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our inniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
You see, hundreds of years later, God again provided the sacrifice for sin, and like the priests of Moses’ day, he placed all our sins on the head of the one who would take them far away.
That’s why Easter is not about the bunny. It’s a celebration of the Lamb, the Son of God sacrificed for our sins.
We sometimes lose sight of that in the midst of dying eggs and filling baskets. We lose sight of it at other times, too.
Times when we should live like those who’ve been forgiven, rather than those who don’t know the love of the Lamb, which is why Peter wrote, “For you know that it was not with perishable things like silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:19)
Because we are forgiven. “For by one sacrifice, He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:14)
That is certainly something to celebrate, isn’t it?
The Lamb is Coming Back
I hope you think so because “Christ was sacrificed once for all to take away the sins of many, and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)
And when he does?
There will be a celebration like none we’ve ever seen.
We get a glimpse of it in Revelation 5, when “the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priest to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth!'” (Revelation 5:6-10)
And that, my friends, is what Easter really about.
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13)
I hope you will join us this week for Encouraging Word Wednesday! I love reading your posts each week. If you’re new here, welcome! Feel free to link up one or two of your favorite faith-filled posts and try to visit one or two links and leave an encouraging comment for another blogger. I’ve been focusing my Encouraging Word Wednesday posts on different names of Jesus. I’d love to have you visit some of previous posts:
The Way: Is Jesus really the only way?