One of the abiding images of the Bible is the “sacrificial Lamb”. It is there in Exodus as the people are redeemed from Egypt. It is there eight hundred years before Christ’s death in extraordinary detail in the writings of Isaiah. At the moment in my daily Bible readings, I am reading Revelation where the references to the lamb are quite unexpected.
The imagery in Revelation is powerful – brutal – with its picture of the “last days” and the final destruction of evil and the Evil One. The Lamb has quite a prominent place – but the picture is so unexpected. “Lamb” in Greek is “Aren”. In Revelation the Lamb is not “Aren” but “Arnion” which is the diminutive. Literally “a little pet Lamb” – certainly the sort of lamb that you would never think of killing. I’ve asked myself a thousand times why? I don’t know. Is it because John wants to show the awfulness of the sacrifice of God’s son?
My favourite picture of the Lamb is in the beginning of John’s gospel where John the Baptist points to Jesus and says, “Behold the lamb of God who lifts up and carries away the sin of the world.” The tense of the verb there is the PRESENT CONTINUOUS – so it is saying he is going to “lift up and carry” my sin until I get to heaven. Amazing!