November 18, 2018

The wrath of the Lamb

The wrath of the Lamb

Many of the Jews came to Bethany, not only to see Jesus, but to see Lazarus also. They wanted to see the man that Jesus had brought back to life. However, the chief priests plotted to kill both Jesus and Lazarus. Jesus’ miracle in bringing Lazarus back to life had caused many Jews to believe in Him.

The day after the supper in Bethany, a ‘great multitude’ who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover feast heard that Jesus was coming to the feast (John 12: 12). John’s gospel records that these people “took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!’” (John 12: 13). From Luke’s gospel record we learn that before Jesus went into Jerusalem, He and His disciples had gone to the Mount of Olives. From there Jesus sent two of His disciples to find a colt – “’Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you,’ ‘Why are you loosing it?’ ‘thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’” (Luke 19: 29-31) They did as the Lord said to do, and brought the colt to Jesus. They threw their own clothes on the colt and sat Jesus upon it. From Mark’s gospel record, when Jesus rode upon the colt into Jerusalem many of the people spread their clothes and palm branches on the road and cried out “’Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” (Mark 11: 8-10) The Old Testament prophet Zechariah had written hundreds of years before Jesus was born – “’Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Zech. 9: 9) John recorded – “His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.” (John 12: 16)

During the first Passover of Jesus’ ministry, He went up to Jerusalem and found men selling oxen, sheep, and doves in the temple. He found money changers doing business there. He made a whip of cords, turned the money changers tables over, and drove the men and their animals out of the temple. He told them – “’Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!’” (John 2: 16) When this happened, the disciples remembered what David had written in one of his Psalms – “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up” (John 2: 17) Around the time of the second Passover of Jesus’ ministry, He miraculously fed over five thousand people with five barley loaves and two small fish. Just prior to the third Passover of His ministry, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. While many people were crying out ‘Hosanna’, Jesus looked upon Jerusalem with a heavy heart. Luke’s gospel records that as Jesus drew near to the city, He wept over it (Luke 19: 41) and said – “’If you had known even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’” (Luke 19: 42) Ultimately, Jesus had been rejected by His people as King, especially by those who held religious and political authority. He entered Jerusalem humbly and obediently. This Passover, He would become the Passover Lamb of God who would be slain for the sins of the people.

As Isaiah wrote of Him – “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent.” (Isa. 53: 7) John the Baptist had referred to Him as ‘Lamb of God’ (John 1: 35-37). The Redeemer and Deliverer had come to His people, as many Old Testament prophets had prophesied He would. They rejected both Him and His message. He ultimately became that sacrificial Lamb who gave His life and conquered both sin and death.

Israel rejected her King. Jesus was crucified and rose alive. John, while in exile on the Isle of Patmos received the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus identified Himself to John by saying – “’I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1: 8) Later in the Revelation, John saw in heaven a scroll in God’s hand. The scroll represented a title deed. An angel loudly proclaimed – “’Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?’” (Rev. 5: 2) No one in heaven, on the earth, or under the earth was able to open or look at the scroll (Rev. 5: 3). John wept much, then an elder told John – “’Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’” (Rev. 5: 4-5) Then John looked and saw a Lamb as though it had been slain, and this Lamb took the scroll from God’s hand (Rev. 5: 6-7). Then the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb and sang a new song – “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and You have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5: 8-10) Then John saw and heard the voice of thousands around the throne loudly saying – “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5: 11-12) Then John heard every creature in heaven, on the earth, and under the earth, and in the sea say – “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Rev. 5: 13)

One day Jesus will return to Jerusalem. As all nations gather against Israel, Jesus will return and defend His people – “In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zech. 12: 8) Jesus will fight those nations gathered against Israel – “Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.” (Zech. 14: 3) His wrath will one day be poured out on those who come against Israel.

The Lamb of God will one day become King over all the earth – “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be – ‘The Lord is one, and His name one.’” (Zech. 14: 9) Before Jesus returns, wrath will be poured out upon this earth. Won’t you turn to Jesus in faith, before it is too late. As a part of John the Baptist’s last testimony he said – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3: 36) Will you remain under God’s wrath, or believe in Jesus Christ and turn to Him?

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