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Jesus, the Lamb of God

 

In the springtime, there may be no cuter sight than a little baby lamb, frolicking in a pasture. If you can find out where there's a farm not too far from you where there are lambs, be sure to drive out with your small children and let them see this timeless treat. Better yet, if you know someone who would let your children pet a lamb, such as a petting zoo, take advantage of this teaching opportunity.

 

Sheep and lambs are the most frequently-mentioned animals in the Bible - more than 750 mentions. That's because the Hebrew people of Bible times were herdsmen, and they led the nomadic, shepherd's lifestyle.

 

Sheep were valuable sources of meat and wool, and served as the first sacrifices to God for the ancient Hebrew people. That's why calling Jesus the "Lamb of God" was a big clue to the ancient Hebrews that He was the Messiah predicted in the Bible - the perfect sacrifice, innocent and blameless, but giving up his blood once and for all, atoning for everyone's sins and reconciling us to God.

 

Jesus and His followers used lots of references to sheep to make their points, and the people of the day would have readily understood.

 

It's a bit harder for us city folks today - but not really. Using the metaphor of a lamb, you can teach your young child a lot about the nature of Jesus.

 

God is depicted as a shepherd in the Twenty-third Psalm, the most important person to the sheep - protector, savior, feeder and caretaker. That's just how God is to us.

 

The Messiah's death is prophesied in Isaiah 53:7 (he was "led as a lamb to the slaughter"). You can talk about how meek and gentle a little lamb is, with your child, and compare that with the meekness of Jesus even in the face of his death on the Cross. That's how we all should be, all the time.

 

Jesus called himself the "Good Shepherd" when He taught us about how He loves to take care of us and nurture us. See John 10:1-18.

 

Jesus was totally obedient to God, and trusted Him completely, so his followers called him "the Lamb of God" - see John 1:29, 36. Also see Acts 8:32, 1 Peter 1:19, and Revelation 5:6. The Book of Revelation alone refers to Jesus as a "lamb" some 28 times.

 

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.GoBigEd.com Heart Lessons 021 2006

 

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