Law, Gospel, and Lambs

BY KATHY STRAUCH

There are some things that just go together. Walk through the aisles of a store and see colors harmonize with spring colors that paint the earth. Dark pigments bloom into pastel colors. Flowery patterns sprout up in table cloths, pillows, and clothing. 

Of all the rabbits, chicks, and lambs that were scattered throughout the Easter decorations, a little lamb caught my eye. A lamb and Easter just go together. Sin and grace, Law and Gospel—a little lamb carries with it the narrative of the Scriptures. 

Lambs are sin bearers. They would carry the weight of a person’s sin and die in order that the guilt would be taken away. A spotless, pure lamb was raised to die. The death of these lambs show us the consequence of failing to measure up to the Law’s demand.

The wages of sin is death and throughout the Scriptures, we see lambs taking on the full weight of that death. In the book of Exodus for example, we learn that death only passes over because of the death of another. 

Lambs carried the transgressions of the people. In the book of Leviticus, we learn that the priest would impute the sins of the people to the animal by confessing their iniquities while laying hands on the head. 

“Not all the blood of beasts on Jewish altars slain could give the guilty conscience peace or wash away the stain.” — Isaac Watts

Day after day, year after year lambs died for the ungodly. It was never enough. It was never finished. The blood of the lambs could never atone for the deadly weight of the sin that pressed down on them. 

All of these lambs pointed to the Lamb. They were imperfect pictures of the perfect One. All of the passover lambs pointed to the passover Lamb who would cover us with His blood. God’s judgment would pass over us because of the Lamb He, Himself would provide in His Son. 

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. —Isaiah 53:7

“My faith would lay its hand on that dear head of Thine, while as a penitent I stand and there confess my sin.” — Isaac Watts

Jesus stands silent in the face of death. He bears our sin and allows the accusations against us, our guilt, our shame, and our transgressions to fall upon and crush Him. Our sin is given to Him and in His death, His righteousness is made our own. 

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” —John 1:29

In Jesus, you have a Good Shepherd who would rather sacrifice Himself in death for your own sin than see you suffer the eternal condemnation your transgressions deserve. 

The Good Shepherd knows His sheep, He knows and cares for you. Your Good Shepherd intercedes for you with His own blood. He blesses you and holds you in His nail pierced hands. He comforts you and loves you with His gifts that flow from His pierced side. 

Jesus is the sin bearer. Jesus is your sin bearer. In one of his hymns, Paul Gerhardt beautifully declares who this Lamb is, “This Lamb is Christ, the soul’s great Friend, The Lamb of God, our Savior.” The Lamb of God who takes away your sin is your great friend, you Savior. And in Him, all is finished.

Kathy is a bookworm, writer, graphic designer, and coffee lover from Michigan. She enjoys reading and learning about Law and Gospel as well as the Lutheran Confessions. She also loves learning, researching, writing about, and drinking (good) coffee. Kathy is thankful for the friends who consistantly reminded her and give her a passion to communicate the message of the Gospel—Christ for you—through conversations and writing.  Hymns continue to teach her theology and she enjoys learning to play those hymns on piano. She also loves traveling, especially with her friends. 

Twitter @08Kathy