A tourist once visited a church in Germany and noticed the carved figure of a lamb near the top of the church’s tower. He asked why it was there and was told that when the church was being built, a safety rope had broken and a workman had fallen from a great height and plummeted headlong into the church yard below which was cluttered with large stones. His co-workers had rushed down, expecting to find him dead. But miraculously the man was still alive and only slightly injured. How had he survive the fall unscathed? Well between two of the large rocks a lamb was nibbling on some grass. The falling man landed directly on top of the lamb, which broke his fall and undoubtedly saved his life. However in the process, the lamb itself was crushed and killed. In gratitude for the lambs sacrifice and his own deliverance, the workman carved a lamb on the church at the exact height from which he had fallen.
In the same way, we are like the workman plunging toward eternity with nothing but certain death waiting for us, both physically and spiritually. Make no mistake, it is what we deserve, but God’s grace intervened and a perfect Lamb was sent to break our fall.
John the Baptist gave testimony of Him when he pointed to Jesus of Nazareth and declared: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” The Old Testament ears of his audience, accustomed as they were to animal sacrifice for the atonement of sins, would have well understood the implications of John’s declaration. In order for a lamb to take away sin, it must die in the place of the transgressor. In this way Jesus, the Lamb of God, died in our place in perfect atonement for our sin.
And as incredible as this sounds, Jesus sacrifice for us was not a last ditch rescue operation. In fact His sacrifice of mercy & love on our behalf was decided upon even before creation. The last line of Revelation 13:8 refers to Jesus as: “The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” In other words – though it was yet too happen in the future... In God's mind, it was as good as done from the very beginning. His purpose and plan for mankind’s redemption would not be altered or thwarted.
1 Peter 1:19-20 say’s: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”
So this Christmas as you visit the oh-so familiar nativity scene once more, take pause and consider that the babe in the manger is none other than the Lamb of God slain before the world even began.
Consider that the Godhead foreknowing even before creation the incredibly high cost that a redeemed family of children would demand... agreed that the price was not too high... and so the course was set... the Son was given... the Lamb was crushed... Our fall was broken... and we are saved.
So allow me to ask, Where are you at in your life right now? Do you feel like you’re in free fall and that the ground is coming up at you fast? Then let me encourage you to exercise your faith and look to Jesus. He is a Savior who will not only break your fall, but He will catch and hold you safe and secure in his arms for today, tomorrow, and eternity.
My prayer is that just like that workman who carved a grateful memorial to the lamb that had unwittingly saved his life, that you will give your entire life as a living memorial to the Lamb who chose the cross for you.
This Christmas time may the wonder of God’s gift of grace move your heart once more to greater gratitude, deeper devotion, and wholehearted worship.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!
Pastor Danny & Leanne Groening, Declan & Theodore
Killarney Mennonite Church
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