One day, near the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus’ cousin (John the Baptist) saw Jesus walking towards him, and made a spectacular declaration, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) What John was saying was remarkable . . . Jesus would be the One who would offer His life as a sacrifice to pay the penalty that our sins require.
Jesus would later authenticate this as one of the central purposes of His presence in the world when He says, “For even the Son of Man (a title Jesus used of Himself) came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Jesus came to serve us by showing us what God was like in His teaching and healing ministries. But He also came to willingly and lovingly give up His life on the cross as a payment for our sins.
The idea of Jesus as the Lamb of God has its roots in the Old Testament sacrificial system, where a Passover Lamb was offered for sacrifice each year by a family. But before the sacrificial lamb was accepted by the priest for sacrifice, it must first be examined to show that it was without spot or blemish.
Thinking along this line, Warren Wiersbe has observed, “Jesus was going to die as the Lamb of God, and it was necessary for the Lamb to be examined before Passover (Ex. 12:3-6). If any blemish whatsoever was found on the Lamb, it could not be sacrificed. Jesus was examined publicly by His enemies, and they could find no fault in Him.”
This examination of Jesus takes place in Matthew 21-23 as Jesus is grilled with questions by the chief priests and elders, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Herodians. These Jewish national leaders at the time, ask Jesus question after question trying to knock Him off the mountain top, but Jesus passes all tests and shows that He is truly “King of the (Temple) Mountain.”
This Sunday, September 29, at Wildwood, we will be in week 2 of our “King of the Mountain” series looking at a question posed to Jesus from the Pharisees and the Herodians, “should we pay our taxes?” We will see how Jesus responds to this question and what it means for us today as we look at Matthew 22:15-22. See you then!