When the “Prodigal son” decided to return to his father's house after wasting all his inheritance, living a sinful life and losing all his friends, his father met him even before he reached home.  Immediately, his father declared a celebration and had the penned calf killed and prepared for a feast.  Nothing was too good for the son he feared was dead who had returned home in humility expecting to be nothing more than a servant in his father’s house.

The family kept a calf in the pen and fed it well, prepared for special occasions; and the father felt this was a joyous occasion deserving the best he had, “the fatted calf”  (Luke 15:23).

This is a picture of how God reserved His best for the redemption of His beloved creation. 


“And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement…” (Exodus 29:36).  This was one of the duties of the priest, and the bull had to be without blemish.  Crippled, sick or flawed in any way, the bull was not acceptable.

 On the Day of Atonement, the priest was presented with two goats.  One was the “scapegoat” onto which the sins of the people were transferred symbolically as the high priest placed his hands on the goat’s head and had it released so far away that it could not return.  The other goat was offered as a sin sacrifice.  These too had to be absolutely without blemish.


There were also sacrifices of praise in the offering of animals.

“I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats” (Psalm 66:15).

Sin was (and is) a serious matter in God’s eyes!  It required that a penalty be paid that would be acceptable by God.  To be forgiven and blessed was reason to praise God who had made provision for man’s sin which separated him from the Holy God, to be atoned for, restoring fellowship and acceptance by his Creator.  Whether it was a sacrifice for sin or one of thanksgiving, the requirement was the same—the best of the flock or herd.


When we look at Calvary, we see that there the best heaven and earth had to offer was sacrificed for our sin.  All the other sacrifices that the priests had placed on the altar were only similitudes and looked toward the supreme and perfect One, without blemish and fully acceptable to our Holy God.  Never again would men have to search for a perfect lamb or calf, bull or goat for the priest to kill and sacrifice to cover their sin; the Perfect Lamb of God fulfilled the need for ever.  God looked at the cross where Jesus shed His innocent blood for all the sins of the world and agreed with Jesus when He said, “It is finished!”

This Lamb which had been prepared for this purpose from the foundation of the world had completed God’s requirement for the sin problem of the world.

“…now once in the end of the world hath he [Jesus] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26)

Having given His life in death, Jesus arose from the dead to give us life that we won’t have to taste death!

“Father, I will that they [includes us] also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

Just because the body that we live in may lie in a grave when Jesus returns doesn’t mean we no longer exist.  Paul addressed this when he wrote to the Thessalonians that folks who were living when Jesus returns in the clouds would not hinder those who were “asleep,” but those living on the earth would join those who had been awakened to inhabit their new bodies and together meet Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).


When Mary went to the tomb of Jesus and saw that He was not there, she mistakenly thought someone had stolen His body and taken it to another place.  Sorrowfully she sat weeping at the tomb, when someone asked why she cried.  She told the questioner she was looking for the Lord, not knowing it was He who stood before her.  When He spoke her name, she recognized Him and would have worshipped at His feet, but He replied,

“…Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father…” (John 20:17).

Having died for our sins and arisen from the dead, Jesus now would go to the heavenly temple that Moses glimpsed for the pattern of the Tabernacle he built in the wilderness.  Not only was Jesus the sacrifice, He is our high priest (Hebrews 8:1); Jesus would place His shed blood on the altar in the Most Holy Place where it would remain forever, cleansing all those who accepted His sacrifice and presenting them to God covered with His sinless holy blood.  God would not see the sin; it was gone.  He would now only see that the penalty has been paid and we are innocent!


Jesus expressed a love that no other was capable or worthy of giving and is forever our Savior.  Now we who are born again are known to God as His own and our names recorded in His birth record book—the Book of Life.  God has our birth certificate and one day, maybe very soon, that book will be opened and our names called to join Jesus in the mansions He has prepared for us.  Even those whose names are not found in the Book, will fall on their knees and acknowledge that “Jesus is Lord”!  But, Alas! They have waited too long.

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11).

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philippians 2:10)


Wouldn’t it be a good idea to begin each day with the expectation, “This may be the day!” and then live accordingly?

This is what Easter is all about—our new life in Christ and our resurrected life with a new body prepared for eternal blessings as He promised!


Rejoice, He lives; and because He lives, we shall live also—with Himforever!








Lily by Jorji Girl at Photobucket.com

@ There's Good News April 2011


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