“For the LORD’s portion is His people…”
~ Deuteronomy 32:9 (NKJV)
It is amazing to think of all the things God could delight in, He is abundantly pleased to delight in His people. The Creator of heaven and earth has no greater love, joy or delight than to pour out His care and affection over the people whom He has chosen for Himself. This concern is seen in no fuller glory than when God’s own beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died that sacrificial death that allows us the high privilege, that allows us, those who come by faith, to become the Lord’s portion.
“You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God a bull or sheep which has any blemish or defect, for that is an abomination to the LORD your God.”
~ Deuteronomy 17:1 (NKJV)
Why did the Lord God command Israel to only offer a sacrifice free from blemish or defect? Was God just be trivial and trying to make worship unnecessarily difficult for His people to perform? Of course not! The mandate to bring no blemished or defective animal before the Lord was to teach Israel a vital spiritual lesson – that God is most holy, perfect and pure -and therefore cannot accept anything less than perfection for Himself. Anything less is an affront to the nature and character of a righteous God.
Yet we know that these mere animals possess no real moral character and only symbolize and point to the one true sinless sacrifice that can claim moral purity and perfection – Christ Himself. Jesus alone fulfilled the Old Testament obligation and command to offer only that which was free of defect or blemish. He offered Himself in place of sinful imperfect man who are riddled with blemish and defect. Christ offered Himself that we, those who come to Him by His mercy and by our faith, are graciously no longer an abomination to the Lord.
“And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he said, Behold the Lamb of God!”
~ John 1:36 (NKJV)
The Jews had long sought the coming Messiah. And a “lamb” in the Jewish culture had a deep, rich and symbolic meaning that symbolized the one who would come as their Deliverer. The promised Messiah would be likened to one who is “like a lamb that is led to slaughter” (Is. 53:6-7). When John the Baptist declares to the world “Behold the Lamb of God”, those there that day understood that John was saying here’s our Messiah, here’s our Deliverer, here’s the one who has been promised to save and deliver us, Jesus – the Messiah – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!
Like the blood of the lamb that was used during Passover as a covering on the lintel and doorposts over the homes of the Hebrews in Egypt to protect them from God’s vengeance, so the blood of Christ, our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7), the Lamb of God, is the sinner’s covering from God’s just indignation against our sin. God sees us, not in ourselves, not in our own righteousness, nor according to our good deeds (as if there were any), but rather God looks at the faithful through the sacrificial blood of the Lamb, through Christ our Messiah.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
~ Mark 10:45 (NKJV)
The life and ministry of the Lord Jesus was to serve others. Jesus came to serve, and to be an example of what it means to live a life serving, loving and helping others. Though Jesus was, and is, God in heaven, in coming to the earth, He took on the form of a servant. He came not with pomp and glory, but as a man in humble life. He practiced self-denial on their account, and for them was about to lay down his life.
Jesus came to us in the form of a servant in order not only to show us the importance of serving others, but also ultimately to give His life for us – the greatest act of sacrifice and servitude. We have to choose this day whom we are going to serve. The Lord or ourselves? Jesus wants us to take on the heart of the servant. To find fulfillment, peace and joy in serving others just as He did during this ministry. Pray to the Lord to grant you a servant’s heart. A pure desire to see the needs of others even above your own. To think and esteem others before yourself. To humble yourself before God and man that you might better others through your acts of service. For, in the final analysis, when we really let our heart dwell upon it, is this not what Christ has already done for you?
[God’s] mercy is infinite. Everything about it is infinite. It proceeds from an infinite Being, flows through the medium of an infinite sacrifice, surmounts obstacles that are infinite, and addresses itself to those that are infinitely unworthy and ill-deserving.
~ Gardiner Spring (1785-1872)