40 Names of Jesus in 40 days of Lent — Day 39
Good Friday 2022
The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”John 1:29
The lamb gets no say in it.
There are two main events in the Jewish calendar.
- The Passover in the Spring, in which each extended family sacrifice a lamb and comemorates the Exodus from Egypt.
- The Day of Atonement in the Autumn in which two goats are selected, one is sacrificed by the high priest and the other, the scapegoat, has the people’s sin ceremonially laid on it and it is sent out into the wilderness.
John the Baptist, quoted above, conflates the two, using the lamb of the Passover and forgiveness of sins from the atonement. Some Christians talk as if the death of Jesus is only about the atonement, but if so why was Jesus not called the goat of God and why did he die at Passover? That Jesus died for our sins, for our forgiveness is a big part of the story, it is a very important part of the story, It could be argued that it is most of the story, but it is not the whole story.
The messge of the Passover is freedom. Freedom for the Israelites who were slaves in Egypt. The Passover lamb was a sign of that freedom. It was also a very political sign in Jesus time in an area which was not free, but living under the oppression of a foreign power, the Romans. Many Jews saw the Messiah, (the Christ in New Testament Greek ot the Annointed in English), to be the leader who would free them from the Romans as Moses had freed them from the Egyptians, some went futher and saw the Messiah as a military leader who would oust the Romans by forcing them out. Jesus was a very different Messiah to that.
But Jesus did come to bring fredom. Freedom from sin, freedom from being like other people, freedom from selfishness, freedom from ourselves, freedom to follow God.
Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free… So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32,36). This passage comes straight after Jesus saying, “I am the light of the world” and talking of the Son of Man being lifted up. The Crucifixion of Jesus is as much about freedom as it is about forgiveness.
The first half of Galatians chapter 5 is also about freedom. Freedom from the law. We have been set free from any kind of legalism of religion. I would include the Christian legalism of the very conservative Christians in this who seem to quote the Old Testament more than quoting Jesus. The story of Jesus is one of victory through humility. I prefer theologians who show the fruit of humility in how they live as well as their teaching.
Teaching about the humility of Christ and the love of God should not just stay in the church where we worship. It should be reflected in how we live our lives.