You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
(1 Peter 1: 18-19 NRSV)
Your gift of Love they crucified;
They laughed and scorned Him as He died.
The humble King they named a fraud
And sacrificed the Lamb of God.
(“Lamb of God,” Twila Paris)
Last week, in this space, I wrote these words: “God watched His own Son die, with no lamb to take his place.”
The context of that was Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only, long-awaited son in obedience to God’s command. Even as Abraham agonizingly raised his knife, God gave Abraham a reprieve, and allowed him to substitute a lamb for the sacrifice and let Isaac live.
I read those words again, after the column was in print. It was only then that the truth dawned on me. Jesus was the Lamb who took my place, and yours. There was no substitute available to God.
I had known that truth, of course, for years and years. Even so, it struck me anew, with a power that brought me up short.
It brought me face to face with God’s pain as He allowed His son to die. And it made me realize all over again how much God cared for – and cares for – these sinners that we are!
Ash Wednesday is one week from today, March 1. It is a day of penitence and prayer. In whatever way you observe the beginning of Lent, spend some quiet time thinking about your own walk with God. Ask God to forgive your failings and to guide your steps every day. Give thanks for God’s mercy and love.