Jesus: The Sinless Sacrifice

Jesus: The Sinless Sacrifice

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Eph. 2:4-5).

Imagine the horror of cutting the throat of an innocent lamb, watching as its life’s blood pours from its body, and knowing you are the reason it had to die. This is precisely what was required of the Jew’s living under the Law of Moses. The Old Testament is filled with the blood of innocent animals that died on the altar of sacrifice. This, of course, was not without cause. God said, 

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul (Lev. 17:11). 

The Hebrews writer offers further insight by saying “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). Jehovah wanted His people to understand the seriousness of sin—that it came with a high cost. So, each sacrifice was to be “without blemish” (Lev. 1:3; etc.). A pure, spotless lamb was required to deal with sin under the law, but that arrangement was not intended to be permanent. It was but a shadow of what was to come.  Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” The blood of a lamb was powerless to forgive sin. Ultimately, it was the blood of The Lamb that was needed.

Paul wrote, 

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (1 Tim. 1:15). 

There is an ocean of meaning in that sentence. Sin is a violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4), and its penalty is death (Rom. 6:23). When we sin we separate ourselves from God (Isa. 59:1-2), and find ourselves in a hopeless position, destined for eternal destruction
(Eph. 2:12). We have no ability to remedy the situation. We stand guilty, and cannot provide a sacrifice powerful enough to remove that guilt. Sin has a high cost! 

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Eph. 2:4-5). 

Motivated by His immeasurable love, Jehovah looked down upon us with grace and mercy and provided for us the sacrifice that was needed—Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The tragedy of the death of Christ is seen in the fact that He did not deserve to die—we did. Peter described Him as a lamb “without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:19). Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 7:26 describes Jesus as “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” He “offered himself without spot to God” (Heb. 9:14), and, in perhaps the most sobering passage of all we learn, “For he made him who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him”
(2 Cor. 5:21). Though He did not deserve to die, he chose to do so, so that we may be right with God, through Him.

When we consider the sinless sacrifice of Jesus, it ought to move us at our very core. Undoubtedly, it was a difficult and sorrowful thing for those under Moses’ law to sacrifice the innocent life of an animal, but that holds no comparison to the tragedy of sacrificing the spotless Lamb of God. He was innocent. Free from guilt and transgression, yet He stood in my place and suffered in my stead. As J.R. Baxter wrote, “My precious Savior suffered pain and agony, He bore it all that I might live.” How thankful we should be for Jesus, the sinless sacrifice.

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