BACKGROUND STORIES – The empty tomb part 2

The second Sunday in our series ”The empty tomb”, Maicon brought us more background stories from The Old Testament so that we better can understand the coming Easter. First we will take a look at the preaching of John the Baptist.

The preaching of John the Baptist

John the Baptist was preparing the way for Jesus. He preached to the people to repent, and he then pointed the people to Jesus.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  – John 1:29

So Jesus “takes away the sin”, but why? And what exactly does that mean?

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

God is the very giver of life! Sin is turning away from God. So this verse is about more than just punishment. The essence of sin is to have greater love for other things than for God, and thereby turning away from life itself. The consequence is death.

To shed more light over this, we shall go to some of the important background stories in the Old Testament:

 Story 1 – The testing of Abraham

In this story God is testing Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac. They went up the mountain and his son thought they were going to sacrifice a lamb. When Isaac asked him, Abraham answered: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

Just before Abraham is about to kill Isaac, The Lord stopped him. God did provided a ram to be slaughtered instead of Isaac. The story is pointing forward to a time when God will fully provide for everyone.

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. – Gen 22:13

 

Story 2 – The Passover  

The second story is what we have already looked at; the Passover.

And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. Ex 12:26-27

Isaiah 53 can also be mentioned here. It’s a prophecy of the suffering servant that was going to come and take the sin upon Him. He is here compared with a lamb.

Story 3. – Daily atonement sacrifice

Thirdly the people of Israel were instructed to make daily sacrifices of animals to atone for their sin. It was teaching them and reminding them how serious sin is and what the consequence is.

 These stories were a very important part of the identity of The People of Israel.

Jesus the perfect sacrifice

Jesus was perfect and without sin, therefore he was also the perfect sacrifice. The author of the letter to the Hebrews conclude as follows:

Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.  – Heb 7:27

The root of sin is choosing our selves before God. The solution is to give our selves up and die. But the problem is that we cannot die and still live.

Jesus takes the death that we deserved. He does not simply take away our sin, but also the root of sin. He does not only cure the symptoms, but also the disease itself.

So what does this mean to us? What are the implications? Faith is to identify with Jesus death, to die with him so that we can live with him. We are called to repent and identify, to embrace Jesus sacrifice for us.

 

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