His Time Had Come
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and scattered them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. Matthew 21:8-9 (KJV)
This was one of the most dramatic events in the ministry of the Lord Jesus. He has come to the last three days of His earthly ministry and he has withheld telling many that He was the Messiah. Outside of the woman at the well, Jesus has told no one He is the Chosen One of Israel to redeem their sins. The disciples have known, but only through divine revelation. Jesus asked them what people were saying of him in the cities. They replied that the common consensus was John the Baptist raised from the dead, Elijah or any one of the Old Testament prophets. He then asked Peter who he thought He was and the reply was, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16 NKJV). Jesus told Peter this revelation came from the Father. When demons told of His identity, He commanded them to tell no one. He told them His time had not yet come. But on the day of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His time had come.
For three years He had worked himself from the countryside of Israel into the city of Jerusalem. He had performed signs, wonders, and miracles and fulfilled the Old Testament scriptures concerning His life and ministry. He now presented Himself to the multitudes as the Messiah, the Redeemer. He was in town to be seen by the crowds, examined before crucifixion.
Jesus The Lamb
John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God. This was more than a title, it carried a great amount of prophetic significance. Before a lamb could be sacrificed, it had to be examined. No imperfections were allowed. The lamb had to be perfect and spotless to be qualified for a sacrifice for sins. This took three days of examination.
Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Exodus 12:3,5-6 (ESV)
Everyone took a lamb, good men and bad, rich men and poor, and large families and small. Each family had to find the best lamb possible. The lamb was observed for three days, slain and eaten.
Of course the lamb represents Jesus, our Passover Lamb. Just as the blood of the lamb preserved the family from death, Jesus’ blood preserves us from eternal destruction, spiritual death. Just as the children of Israel went from eating the Passover lamb to crossing the Red Sea, we also accept Jesus as our savior and pass from death to life.
We too enter into eternal life and our enemies that held us in our old life are drowned behind us.
God Met Man At The Sacrifice
If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord. Leviticus 1:3 (KJV)
The sacrifice was brought to the priest where it was examined again. The owner had watched the sheep for three days and found no blemish. The priest gave the final examination and approval for the lamb to be used for a sin offering. Jesus was not only examined by the multitudes for three years and found to be without blemish, He was also examined by God and approved for sacrifice.
Notice, the person offered the sacrifice without coercion, of “his own voluntary will”. Salvation can never be forced on anyone. We all have to accept Jesus as our own Lord and Savior. Even God cannot make a person be saved. The gospel is for “whosoever will”. But when a person did offer a sacrifice, God promised to meet them at the door of the tabernacle. Where the sacrifice was made, God met man. The cross of Jesus is where God and man meet. On his own, man can never approach God. Righteous God can never meet with sinful man. Something must stand between and draw the two together. What unites God and man is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
The Offering Represents Your Desire For Purity
And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the Lord thy God. Deuteronomy 15:21 (KJV)
An offering with any blemish at all was forbidden by God. It should not only be repulsive to God, but also to the bringing the offering. Why? The offering represented what the person wanted to become. Did the person with the offering want to be sick? No. Then why would a person offer a sick sacrifice? Did the person want to be lame or blind? No. Then why would they offer a lame or blind sacrifice? Jesus was not only a perfect sacrifice for God, but also for us. He is everything we desire to be. He is spotless with regards to sin and sickness so we can be whole, spirit, soul, and body. Only a spotless animal could take the sins of the congregation. Only a spotless Redeemer could take the sins and iniquities of the world. Thank God for Jesus, the Lamb of God.
The Baptism of John
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 (ESV)
Jesus came into this world to be examined by His Father first of all. For thirty years, Jesus had proved Himself before His heavenly Father. He even told his parents, “I must be about my Father’s business”.
On the day Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, His Father could now say, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. Jesus had the stamp of approval from heaven. Now the time had come for Him to be examined by the people. John told the multitudes, “Behold (look closely, examine), the Lamb of God”. Jesus would be closely watched by the multitudes for the next three years. His approval by men would come at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people would cry out, “Hosanna, blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord”. Their king, their Messiah, would enter into the holy city to be offered.
Jesus Is Better Than An Earthly Lamb
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb 9:13-14 (NKJV)
The blood of animals could never remove sins from a person’s life. Animal’s blood could only cover for a short period of time and another animal had to be offered. Jesus’ blood was eternal. Once the blood of our Redeemer was shed, no animal or man had to shed blood again for our redemption. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and put an end to all sacrifices.
In the Old Testament, millions of animals were sacrificed. Many thousands were offered each day. None of those animals ever came back from the dead. Once they were used for a sacrifice, they were divided up for food and clothing. When a person needed forgiveness of sins again, they had to bring another animal. Jesus was not only a perfect sacrifice for our sins, He rose from the dead after making atonement. He now lives to rule over the covenant He provided.
Animal’s blood could temporarily cover sins, but could never clean the conscience of a person. Jesus blood removes all sins and clears our conscience so we can truly serve God. What a sacrifice we have in Jesus!
The Sacrifice Was Examined
Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV)
Let me paint a picture in your mind. Jesus is our Passover Lamb. He was examined by His Father for thirty years and examined by the people for three years. He was announced to be without spot or blemish. He fulfilled the type of the Old Testament lamb offered before the priest. After examining the sacrifice for three days, the person brought the sacrifice to the priest to be examined. The person examined the sacrifice and the priest examined the sacrifice. The priest did not examine the person.
When we come to God with a heart attitude of repentance, He forgives us. If we come as a sinner for salvation or as a believer for forgiveness of sins, God does not examine us. He examines Jesus, the sacrifice. God declares Jesus to be spotless. Then He declares us, the ones seeking forgiveness, to be spotless too.