The Horrific End To Sacrifices

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

My sister Nancy, an attorney from upstate New York, finds the best stuff to read. Yesterday, she turned up a pamphlet written by Jon Oswalt, O.T. professor from Asbury Seminary, on some of the little-known happenings at Passover. On any given day, 2 lambs were slaughtered in the temple; one in the morning and one in the evening. On Passover however, 250,000 lambs were slaughtered. I can’t fathom such a scene.  Here’s the quote from Oswalt’s writing. “At Passover time, rivers of blood poured off the high altar, so much so that there was a gutter system under the altar designed to carry that blood away into the Kidron Valley. Think about it: if Jesus waded across the Kidron on his way from the Upper Room to Gethsemane, he may have waded through blood up to his knees.”

Knowing that this would have been a yearly reality for the Jewish people, I’m surprised that they had long periods of disobedience, and subsequent captivity, given the horrific scenes they saw at each Passover. It was visually evident how God felt about sin. Such carnage was proof. Oh, but what a moment when Jesus said, “It is finished.” No more sacrifices. No more bloodshed. He was the Lamb, the once and for all Lamb, who didn’t just cover sins. No, He removed them completely.

I can’t help but remember how I felt one morning when reading of the first sacrifice in Genesis. The lamb that might have been Adam and Eve’s pet, a pet they had probably named, had to be put to death because of their sin. It was a moment when innocence was shattered and they saw a glimpse into the implications of the fall. Perhaps they felt, on a visceral level, what the crack in their idyllic world really meant.

No wonder Jesus said, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.’ We look back thousands of years to remember stories, and the Person of Christ, to be impacted profoundly. I contend that it would be impossible to be moved without the very Spirit of the Living Christ living inside; empowering our memory, fueling our spiritual eyesight, and sharing His own emotions over His own death and resurrection. By His grace and the power of His Spirit, I am able to feel the impact. I am able to call it horrific and realize that it was His love for me that propelled Him to finish what He came to do without compromise.

My sin. None of it is small. You were, and are, my Lamb for all eternity. Amen

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