NEWSLETTER

February 2020

 

THE LAMB OF GOD

In Chapter 1:29 of the Gospel of John we

have John the Baptist remark when he sees

Jesus approach, “Behold, the Lamb of God,

who takes away the sin of the world.” This title

is only found in John’s gospel but it is an

identification of our Savior with considerable

meaning for us as our Messiah. Jesus is the

servant of God who came to carry away the sins

of the world to bring us our salvation.

 

In the history of art over the Christian centuries the image of Christ as the Lamb of God developed most frequent as a Lamb holding the banner of the resurrection as he completed his task of being God’s sacrificial lamb. Sometimes if the lamb refers to the lamb on the throne of the The Book of Revelation 5:12 that lamb is standing on a book with seven seals. The lamb can also be the suffering

Servant of Isaiah who was like a lamb that was led to the slaughter. And in the Old Testament the Paschal lamb of the Exodus sacrifice can be seen as the eventual completion of God’s plan.

 

This identification is found in our communion service in two places. When the consecrated Bread is broken the priest says, “Alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” And we respond with, ”Let us keep the feast. Alleluia.” Then when we say the Agnus Dei just before receiving communion we say, “Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.”

 

Clearly this Lamb of God is a vital part of our worship understanding.

 

God’s instructions to enslaved Israel who were suffering in Egypt was for them on the night of the final plague for Pharaoh to slaughter a lamb and smear its blood on the lintel and jambs of their door and to keep the Passover meal as proscribed. By doing so the mighty hand of God struck the blow that rescued His people from their slavery.

 

To draw the comparison between the Paschal Lamb of the Exodus and the Lamb who was slain on Good Friday we have the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of he world.

 

The lamb for the paschal sacrifice had to to a male lamb one year old an without defect to be an acceptable animal for the sacrifice. In the preparation of the roasting care was to betaken that no bones were to be broken. This identification of our passover Lamb is indeed Jesus our Lord. And at the communion we take in for our salvation the body and blood of our Savior who was sacrificed for us.

 

The Lamb of Revelation is seen in the redeeming work of Christ in sovereignty on the throne of heaven. We have then two lamb ideas united, victorious power and sacrificial suffering given to us as love. Let us look with the eyes of John the Baptist to behold the Lamb of God in our midst and in our

lives.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Fred+

 

From Father Frank

Holy Scripture comes to us in various literary forms. The Bible contains 66 books by a number of

authors, some known and some unknown. Some tell stories, some recite poetry. Some set forth

wise sayings, others relate visions of the future. The variety is as rich as life itself. When we read

Holy Scripture faithfully, we see more clearly the magnificence of God’s plan for humankind and all

the rest of His Creation. It continues to fascinate us and bring us closer to Him.

 

There are times, however, when something we read in Scripture or in a commentary, or we

hear in a conversation or in a sermon, really seems to strike home. Often it is because we are

enabled to see the application to some matter that is of particular concern in our personal lives, but

at other times it simply, and sometimes surprisingly, reveals some truth in a more meaningful way

than before. Jesus often used metaphors in communication with his listeners (such as, “The

Kingdom of God is like . . .”) in order to better explain what he meant. We sometimes think of Him

in metaphorical ways, as for example, The Good Shepherd. In a number of passages, He portrayed

Himself as “. . . the light of the world,” so as to communicate how He drives away the darkness and

illuminates everything and everyone. Metaphorical usage cannot be taken to extremes, however.

Jesus did not mean to illustrate that we, with our modern understanding of artificial lighting, can

switch Him on and off at will or on whim. His use of the image of “light” is becoming more powerful

for me as I learn and study more about photography. A still photo captures the light on a scene for

a moment in time, sometimes in a particularly dramatic way. Without at least some light, there can

be no photograph.

 

As I reflected on the image of light, particularly in the photographic sense, I began to realize

that the concept of “focus” carries the image a step farther. We all know that our eyes are only able

to focus on parts or sections of what is around us at any time. We can choose to focus on distant

objects or close ones. As we get older, we can be fitted with bifocals or trifocals to help us focus. A

photographer can set the camera to focus near or far so as to emphasize or draw the viewer’s

attention to the primary subject. Modern cameras have sophisticated autofocus mechanisms to

enable instantaneous focus on moving subjects such as wildlife. You may recall seeing in movies

how the camera will shift focus from one character to another as each speaks. In a stage

production, the same effect can be achieved by using a spotlight. And there is the use of that

image of light again, this time in a different context! Is Jesus in the spotlight in your world? Are you

keeping Him in focus? You see how this works?

 

I expect that we will further explore the use of metaphor in Scripture in our traditional Lenten

studies this year, beginning Friday, February 28, at 4:30 pm at the church, followed by Stations of

the Cross. Our study will continue each Friday until Good Friday. Come and bring your favorite

Scripture metaphor.

 

In Christ, The Rev. Frank K. Wilson