Jesus the sacrificial lamb: Wrap that round your tefillin.

In my “Why did the Righteous suffer?”, Barry Lyle made the following comment about the sacrifices in the Torah: “I have often wondered deep in my “secret place” whether the Ancient Middle East idea of Sacrifice wasn’t a wee bit primitive!”

I replied:

THAT is something that generally sticks in the craw. Richard Dawkins in his “The God delusion” makes a banquet of it. All that blood and gore – Yech. Surely not something that a pure, holy, spiritual, loving, blah blah blah god would do. But when this god also does it to human beings, and his own son. I’m outta here. Hurry Krishna!

As I said in my post: blood, blood, millions of litres of blood and buckets of gore. Why, why, why? Because God didn’t only want to paint a picture, and paint it red, He wanted to come out of the picture Himself and show why rivers of animal blood were  necessary. He didn’t have to do it. He wanted to come into the world to become one of those sacrifical lambs Himself. It’s impossible – especially for  a Torah Jew – to wrap THAT round his tefillin. But as Jesus said “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

When Jesus told his disciples – the Gospels record several occasions; who knows how many times more? – that He was going to suffer, spill his blood, and be “lifted up,” His words went in one obtuse ear and out the other. Who can take it in? Only when we really take it in – when God opens our eyes – do we get a glimpse into that beaten to death verse: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that those who believe in Him may have eternal life” (John 3:16). “Gave” his son; so commonplace a word.

“Before the mountains were brought forth – or the earth and world were formed, from everlasting Jesus Christ was, like the Father, very God. From the beginning He was foreordained to be the Savior of sinners. He was always the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, without whose blood there could be no remission. The same Jesus, to whom alone we may look for salvation, that same Jesus was the only hope of Abel and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and all the patriarchs; what we are privileged to see distinctly they doubtless saw indistinctly – but the Savior both we and they rest upon is one. It was Christ Jesus who was foretold in all the prophets, and foreshadowed and represented in all the law – the daily sacrifice of the lamb, the cities of refuge, the brazen serpent, all these were so many emblems to Israel of that Redeemer who was yet to come, and without whom no man could be saved. There never was but one road to heaven: Jesus Christ was the way, the truth and the life yesterday as well as today.”

J.C. Ryle

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