WELL, IT’S OFFICIALLY SPRING! Particularly heralded by hail showers and sunshine. We have longer days, daffodils and lambs in the field.
Lambs have always been special for me. I love their whiteness, their spring and bounce, and the fact they remind me of so many bible stories. For us, in the farming environment of 2014, they aren’t a currency, they don’t have a value, in the same way that they did in the Bible times. Then a lamb was a sign of wealth and a suitable sacrifice offering to the Lord God. So when I see a lamb it reminds me of spring and naturally leads forward to the coming of Easter.
The preparation for Easter takes place during the church season of lent. I have always thought of this as a rather confusing timeline as the “giving up” of things for lent or the “adding a new thing” for lent in preparation for Easter was undertaken by the Lord himself after his baptism and before he started his ministry. That time of preparation did not immediately precede Easter which was, of course, at the end of his ministry.
However, lent gives us a season to focus more closely on God and deepen our faith. It gives us a time to mirror the Lord’s own personal preparation for starting his ministry by deepening our own preparations for serving in whichever way we have been called. During lent we prepare churches both inside and out to welcome people through its doors at Easter who we may not see for the rest of the year. This gives a time to rehearse the love that we will need to show, the language we will need to speak and the words of eternal life that will need to be on the tip of our tongue so that those who come can see the church as a bright light in a dark world.
Just as lent allows for preparation for Easter both personally and for our churches so do lambs. In John 21:15 the Lord Jesus gives Peter a clear command that his lambs are to be fed and in Isaiah 40:9-11 we hear that the Messiah will gather the lambs into his arms. Me, as a lamb, I am gathered in his arms, kept safe in the sheep hold at night, taken out to pasture, sought if I am lost and able to hear his voice and follow him.
I am a thing of value, of worth.
Jesus, as the Lamb of God, is the one Lamb suitable to make the one and only sacrifice for the world’s sin. Through his sacrifice at Easter he bought eternal life for all those who accept it. The planning for Easter can be seen in the two verses 1 Peter 1:18-21 and 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. Look them up!
It brings in the Passover, his sinlessness and the timeline from Abraham right through the escape from Egypt to the cross so very well.
So lent is a time to prepare ourselves by focusing on faith, prepare us to serve better as the Lord did, to concentrate on being a lamb ourselves and to see Jesus as he was as the Lamb of God.