This is Part Two of my series Only a Suffering God Can Save
The crucifixion of Jesus is the interpretive key to understanding God, however if we are to understand this key we must first look at the background. The crucifixion is the fusion of four images from the Old Testament; the Passover lamb, the bronze serpent in the desert who was lifted up, the scapegoat ritual, and Jonah in the belly of the whale.
Today I will talk about Christ as the Passover lamb. This is probably the most common image we have of Jesus, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. What is interesting to me is that the Passover ritual wasn’t for the forgiveness of sin, that’s what the scapegoat was for. As we know from watching the Ten Commandments is that as a final curse from God, all the first-born in Egypt would die. To save themselves from this death, the children of Israel had to slaughter a lamb, eat it, and put its blood above the door. Then the angel of death would see the blood and pass over that house. What the movie didn’t show, but is in the Bible, is that they had to bring the lamb into the house and keep it for four days. I bet that in that time the kids fell in love with that lamb. They have probably named it. The lamb is a part of the family now. Why do you think that God told them to do this?
On the fourth day the lamb had to be slaughtered and eaten, but by then they would have grown attached to it. I think that the killing of something you are attached to was the point of the ritual. It hurt more, and thus was more of a sacrifice. I believe that the lamb represents your false sense of self, your ego. It’s that part of you that is needy and wants to be in control. It is a false identity, but something that is precious to us all. It doesn’t look evil or like something that needs to die, but instead seems quite innocent. Like a lamb.
The real point of all sacrifice is death of the ego. I talked about this more in my post on the meaning of the Biblical symbols of Water, Blood, and Bread. It is the ego that is the root of sin. It is the part of you that blinds you to your own sin. It is self-love. It is pride. It must die if you are to reach salvation.
Jesus was not just a man, some great teacher or prophet. He was God incarnate. The same God who created the universe out of nothing, who created all the animals in all their wonderous diversity, and who created each and every one of us. God is the only being in the universe who is entitled to any pride at all, who can be said to deserve an ego. Instead, God humbled Himself and became a man. He lived as one of us and died like one of us. The creator and King of the universe was stripped naked and nailed to a cross.
Jesus said that we had to pick up our crosses and follow Him. If He can humble Himself, than so must we. We must slaughter our own ego, it must be consumed whole, and it’s blood must be spilled and displayed for all to see. The false-self must die so the true-self can rise. Only then can you be a “new creature,” or be “born again.” Both of these phrases show transformation. We cannot stay the same and call ourselves Christian, which means Christ-like. We must get off our butts, out of our comfort zones, and pick up our crosses, humble ourselves, and follow Him, which means we have to do what He said,and do what He did.
It isn’t enough to just believe in Him. The devil and the unclean spirits believed in Him. What we have to do is what they refuse to do, which is follow Him.
Continued in Look On Him Whom We Have Pierced