If Jesus were to appear again on earth, Chuck Swindoll believes that people would be surprised. Surprised not by His physical presence. He's not referring to the way Jesus would look.
Nor would they be surprised with His power. Chuck believes that people would be surprised by Jesus' temperament, His disposition. In Matthew's Gospel, for instance, Jesus said, I am gentle and humble in heart. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck will support this claim through a careful study in the New Testament.
Let's resume the message Chuck started on Friday's program called The Lamb of God. Jesus had plenty of power, of course. Being God, He had all of the strength and then some of heaven.
But He never ever in Himself performed or attempted to impress. He was known for His gentleness and His humility of heart. As a matter of fact, when His closest colleague in the early part of His ministry, named John the Baptizer, spoke of Him over in John chapter 1, John pointed over toward Jesus and said, Behold, behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The Lamb of God. You think those Jewish fishermen didn't understand it when John looked across the way and said, Behold, the Lamb, He's the Lamb. Woven into their entire fabric while growing up in a Jewish home was the Passover, was the use of the Lamb, the talk about the Lamb, the references to the Lamb.
It was in them, thoroughly in them. One man writes, Of all the pictures of the Lamb used of Jesus, this is the one most definitely and directly applied to Him. The Passover feast stood at the very heart of Jewish life and religion. Every adult male Jew who lived within twenty miles of Jerusalem was bound by law to attend Passover.
And it was the ambition of every devout Jew who lived outside Palestine to attend at least one Passover feast in Jerusalem, even if he had to save for half a lifetime to do so. The Passover Lamb stood for two things. First, the Passover Lamb was the symbol of deliverance, and second, the Passover Lamb was the means of deliverance. It is said distinctly and in so many words that it was on the preparation for the Passover, about twelve o'clock midday, that Jesus was crucified.
John, 1914. And that is precisely when the Passover Lamb was to be killed. The Passover Lamb was not killed by the individual worshiper, it was killed in the temple.
It was killed by the priests. Its throat was slit, its blood was collected in a silver bowl and thrown upon the altar. Then the body of the Lamb was given back to the worshiper that it might be cooked and eaten at the feast.
This was all done at midday and in the early afternoon preceding the feast. This is to say that Jesus was being crucified at exactly the time when the Passover Lambs were being killed. Beyond question, the symbolism is that he is God's Passover Lamb sacrificed for the deliverance of God's people. Over in the New Testament, we find in Mark chapter 14 a reference to preparing the Passover. Mark 14, 12. And on the first day of unleavened bread when the Passover Lamb was being sacrificed, his disciples said to him, where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover? And he sent two of his disciples and said, go into the city and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water.
Follow him. And wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, the teacher says, where is my guest room in which I may eat the Passover? Notice what it's called. It's not called celebrating the Passover. It's called eating the Passover because the entire sacrificial scene was the Passover. It was the eating of the lamb. You ate the Passover. You didn't look at the Passover or read about the Passover. You ate the Passover.
And I will eat the Passover with my disciple and he himself will show you a large upper room and furnished and ready, prepare for us there. Isn't that significant that he would not tell them how to do it? Well, they knew how to do it. If your mother all through your life had prepared every year the Passover Lamb, do you think you would know the process? Do most young women who marry know how to fix a Thanksgiving turkey?
Don't answer out loud. That may not fit everybody. Most young brides, most ladies who marry and fix their first Thanksgiving know pretty well how to do it. They've seen it all through their years. Even more so here. Because the Jewish, the godly Jewish home, the devout father and the devout mother would not just fix it, they would explain it.
They would talk about it. This is why we fix the carol shed like this. This is why it's a paste. It represents the mortar that held the bricks, that became a part of the walls that were built around the land of Egypt. This became a part of those massive structures that our forefathers built and died while building and mixing. And this is why we serve the meat like we do. And they would explain it.
And these little children in the most impressive years would with mouth open learn from their mom and dad. It was in the whole being of the Jew. We operate a little at a point of ignorance being Gentile because we haven't that in our heritage. From Mark 14 look at 1 Corinthians 5 verse 7. Paul is rebuking the Corinthians because of their loose living, because of their licentious lifestyle. In fact they had even boasted about it and he says to them in 1 Corinthians 5 verse 6, your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?
And that reminds him of the Paschal scene when he was a little boy no doubt. Clean out the old leaven. They did that at Passover. They took out all of the old leaven.
The house was totally cleaned. Completely cleaned at Passover. That you may be a new lump just as you are in fact unleavened for Christ our Passover.
Look at that. Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Ties in with Isaiah's words doesn't it? Isaiah chapter 53 verse 7 I love it. He was oppressed and he was afflicted yet he opened not his mouth like a lamb led to slaughter.
Like a sheep that is silent before his shearers he did not open his mouth. We've seen biblical or Old and New Testament references to the lamb. Let me show you the scene of the lamb on the earth. I just read from Isaiah 53 turn to Acts chapter 8. I want to show you why I would say that has reference to Christ the servant of God yet to come in the days of Isaiah. Though he wrote it 7 or 8 centuries before Christ one might wonder well how can you say that he wrote it with reference to Messiah the Lord Jesus Christ. Well let's let the Lord himself through that is the Holy Spirit interpreted for us. Acts chapter 8 verse 32. Philip the evangelist is a follower of Christ now that Jesus is gone and left his message. He has heard of the Savior he's believed in Christ and he's dedicated himself to making Christ known and Philip finds himself out in the middle of nowhere and along comes a chariot and in that chariot sits an official of Ethiopia and of all things verse 32 the passage of scripture which he was reading was this he was led as a sheep to slaughter and as a lamb before its shearers is silent so he does not open his mouth. Now pause just a minute imagine that in the middle of nowhere you see a chariot coming and when it gets nearer and nearer and nearer this official says come join me and you sit up in the chariot with the stranger and he's reading from the Old Testament Scrolls Isaiah 53 and so he reads of his humiliation and his judgment was taken away and who shall relate his generation and his life is removed from the earth and the eunuch that is this official from the treasury department over the eunuch said to Philip tell me of whom does the prophet say this of himself or someone else that's a great question I'm reading here in Isaiah and I can't imagine who he's referring to wouldn't it be wonderful to be on a flight and to have someone say psst psst I'm reading in Isaiah 53 do you have any idea who the lamb before his shearers is done who does that refer to oh I'm glad you asked I'm glad and Philip opened his mouth and beginning from this scripture you think he didn't know his Bible beginning from this scripture he preached Jesus to him of course that's who it refers to Isaiah wrote of him seven eight centuries before he came and then now that the passage has been preserved into the first century and this eunuch is reading of it Philip led by God tells him about Jesus Christ our Passover first Peter chapter 1 verse 18 first Peter 1 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers but you were redeemed with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless the blood of Christ the blood of Christ the lamb in Revelation chapter 5 John is transported to the scenes yet future and five six he sees something that will someday be seen by God's people I saw between the throne with the four living creatures and the elders a lamb standing as if slain having seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth and he came and took it out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne and when he had taken the book the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb each one having a harp and golden bowls full of incense which are the sprayers of the saints and they sang a new song worthy art thou to take the book verse 12 worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing go all the way to chapter 21 verse 22 the scene yet future John says I saw no temple in it for the Lord God the almighty and the lamb are its temple and the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it for the glory of God has illumined it and its lamp is the lamb all the way to the end of the book is the picture of the lamb slain for the sins of the world it cannot be denied that these colorful varied portraits painted by the by the the pins of these writers of scripture cannot be denied they had more in mind than mere lambs literal lambs I can see at least four symbolic meanings first of all there's a symbol of sacrifice we've seen that from the earliest pages of scripture second there's a symbol of dependence of reliance on another as a little lamb would rely on on its mother there's a symbol of innocence in the lamb there's a symbol of course of meekness and gentleness and humility all of which are extremely commendable and rare Christ is never called the sheep of God only the lamb a sheep is more powerful a sheep is stronger but in this in this species which is already weak and dependent is an even more fragile little creature and that's the picture God uses of his son men and women let's all be exhorted from the same thought those of us so impressed by visible strength and by great charisma and loud voices and strong will leaders and impressive polished well-groomed tailored entrepreneurs let's be careful I'm convinced Jesus wouldn't present himself that way he wouldn't be bumbling and awkward don't misunderstand there would be enormous strength the strength of God but it wouldn't be displayed to impress you Christ never sought that I find four wonderful qualities of a lamb worth emulating and I hope you will not forget them first a life of dependence no lamb even looks like it can make it on its own it is at the mercy of the wolves I am sure if I were a wolf that's the creature I would want to get first it can't run it can't defend itself and it certainly would be easy prey doesn't try to fake as though it can be strong stays near its mother and has no visible appearance of ferocity or defense remember the words of Proverbs trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean to your own understanding most of us are far too capable when it comes to the affairs of our lives if we would simply like a lamb lean hard on our God not only the life of dependence but I think to be lamb like would be the presence of approachability no one was afraid to come near Christ you never read in this book of his intimidating anyone there was this presence of approachability perhaps it was that that attracted the unlearned men of Galilee first I noticed that when he was presented by John the baptizer as the lamb of God Peter and John followed they weren't afraid there was something about his approachability that attracted them he never gave on a gave off heirs even though within him dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily where he said it come to me all who are weary and heavy laden come to me and I will I will give you rest I'm approachable as you have become successful in life have you remained approachable are you more removed are you still vulnerable are you still lamb like third is a heart of innocence a heart of innocence I found a wonderful verse again I taught through Romans several years ago and had forgotten this marvelous verse let me just read it to you in Romans 16 19 for the report of your obedience has reached all therefore I'm rejoicing over you but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil isn't it refreshing to meet someone innocent in evil it a pleasure to marry an innocent bride an innocent groom isn't it a joy at times to come across someone who is naive in the things of this world I find that terribly refreshing for people are not street wise but like a lamb they still blush they're still shocked by nakedness on the screen are ugly vulgar statements made in the public the heart of innocence stay surprised don't become curious about what is done in secret places keep the filth out of your mind it'll only hurt you it won't help your walk with God fourth is a spirit of sacrifice of all the scenes with lambs the great great preponderance of them is sacrificial the spirit of sacrifice Paul says I am poured out as a drink offering my life has come to an end I fought a good fight I finished the course I've kept the faith and I've lived this life sacrifice to God a life of dependence the presence of approachability the heart of innocence and the spirit of sacrifice look look back over that list is that the way you're living is that what you're shooting for in this busy age in which we live I I hope so you plan to present before the Lord a pure virgin innocent of evil in heart sweet of spirit meek lowly gentle saintly Robert Murray McSheen once said it is not great talent God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus another wonderful statement it is not great talent God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus I think the finest compliment that can ever be said of anyone is that he or she is like Christ you want to be like Christ study the lamb you will be it is not great talent that you bless our father it is great likeness to Jesus we spend too many hours of our year working on ways to impress the public make a good impression cause them to remember some significant deed we have done how carefully we watch our image how seldom we reflect on the lamb the lamb that was slain forgive us lead us and use us for your greater glory Lord in the name of the lamb pray and all the people said amen you're listening to insight for living and the bible teaching of chuck swindoll we're concluding message number nine in chuck's twelve part series on the names of god we hope you've truly enjoyed today's study on the lamb of god if you'd like to learn more about this daily program we'd love to invite you to visit our website at insight world dot org and then did you know you can view the live stream of the worship service at stone briar community church every sunday if that's not convenient you can also view the service at a later time whatever the case thousands around the world enjoy supplementing their local church attendance with this opportunity the live stream includes not only chuck's full sermon but the sacred music from the worship service as well all the details can be found online at insight dot org slash sundays well we've been taking a deep dive into the names that are ascribed to our god and chuck sometimes we view god as a mysterious unknowable deity but the reward of this practical study really is getting better acquainted with his character winston churchill the venerable prime minister of great britain was known to say this about the powerful soviets to the north he said their strategies are like a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma over the last few days i've been reflecting on churchill's masterful turn of a phrase it reminds me of the way some in our generation view the living god while longing to know him they are confounded by his ways yes god's methods are sometimes mysterious and there are times when we can't seem to figure him out at all but let's be very clear our god is not deliberately hiding behind a barrier of mystery gratefully god has made himself known through his word the bible and through his son jesus christ and an insight for living ministries we take great delight in revealing the character of our loving god who came in human flesh to live right here on this earth among us we are living in chaotic times these days our world is filled with broken-hearted people who are burdened by guilt confusion and of course shame and i can't think of a better way to celebrate our savior's birth than to give generously so that others might learn about god's amazing grace and run into his compassionate arms which are always open and ready to receive him would you join cynthia and me in giving generously to insight for living ministries your personal investment will be deployed to take the good news of jesus christ far and wide together through our collective gifts let's declare its joyful news to the world remember the words for a child is born to us a son is given the government will rest on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful counselor mighty god everlasting father prince of peace thanks chuck to respond right now give us a call if you're listening in the united states call 800-772-8888 that's 800-772-8888 or you can give your gift online at insight.org donate and for those who prefer it we also have a mobile app which includes an easy to use donate function i'm bill meyer inviting you to join us when chuck swindoll describes the one who said i am the way the truth and the life that's tuesday on insight for living the preceding message the lamb of god was copyrighted in 1988 1992 and 1998 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 1998 by charles r swindoll inc all rights are reserved worldwide duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited
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