By Arlene Bridges Samuels, CBN Israel—
When John the Baptist saw Jesus walking toward him at the Jordan River, he announced, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Those awaiting baptism may have been startled. They knew all about lambs. Their Jewish culture was saturated with them, as they not only provided a livelihood by means of food and clothing but were also an essential part of the ancient Jewish sacrificial system. So, what did John’s title for Jesus mean?
The slaughter, the lamb’s blood, symbolized a temporary redemption, a covering for sin that God inaugurated in ancient Egypt. Looking into history’s rearview mirror, when Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, God instructed them to choose an unblemished, perfect lamb to kill and then apply its blood to their doorposts. In the 10th plague, which took the lives of Pharoah’s firstborn, God promised that when the Angel of Death swept over Egypt and saw the blood, the Israelites’ firstborn would not die. The blood of lambs saved lives!
Some 1500 years later, the Jews who gathered at the Jordan that day could not imagine the significance of John’s greeting to Jesus. They did not know it was a day of beginnings—the day Jesus presented Himself officially for baptism, then ministry. The Lamb of God sent as a sacrifice not in the Temple, but to die on a cross. One death for all sin—a radical idea from God the Father who radically loves us.
Holy Week 2022 begins this Sunday, April 10—our Christian celebration of Palm Sunday with remembrances of Jesus’ last days before His sacrificial death on the cross. Churches have numerous customs on Palm Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem.
The Jewish context of our Christian faith, though, is often lost in the annals of history. Two thousand years ago, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on what was called the “Day of Lambs”—the day that Jewish shepherds annually herded huge flocks of Passover lambs into Jerusalem, which signaled the beginning of the Passover celebration. Continue Reading….