Lamb of God, Lamb of Us
I spent the last week at Harbor: The Pepperdine Bible Lectures. I heard much good stuff that I will be writing about here or making recommendations for you to listen to. One of my favorite speakers, Randy Harris, told us a story that moved us.
Randy noticed that many of the great thinkers and writers in the church throughout history had been deeply moved by the crucifixion; the Passion was a visceral experience for them. Randy did not have that kind of connection to the cross. His thinking about the cross was mostly intellectual, not emotional. And all the biblical references to lambs – he didn’t have any connection to that. He prayed about this, and as he read Isaiah 53, he realized that our sanitized culture cannot relate at all to this blood sacrifice or slaughter of animals.
So he talked to a friend of his who only eats meat that he raises or hunts. Randy decided to buy a lamb and raise it at this friend’s house. He would go visit the lamb and spend time playing with it. He wrote several prayers that he prayed over it. The friend’s two-year-old would “talk” to it and they would baa back and forth.
Then Randy killed it. He knew he had to kill it with a knife, so he got instructions from a kosher butcher on how to do it humanely. It was still a terrible experience emotionally. He cried. His friend cried. He held the lamb as it died. It did not once try to get away from Randy. It trusted him completely. Randy prayed and told the lamb he would not die gratuitously – he would feed the family who kept him.
But you can imagine the emotion and difficulty of killing an animal you care for, much less a family pet. . . much less your son.
Randy says now it doesn’t matter on Sunday how bad the service is, or the sermon (he’s the preacher : ) because there’s always the Lord’s Supper. When communion is celebrated, it’s an emotional experience for him.
This story made me cry several times as he told it Wednesday. I will be thinking about that lamb, too, on Sundays.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed. . . .
He was beaten, he was tortured,
but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
and like a sheep being sheared,
he took it all in silence. Isaiah 53:5,7
https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-8ajtk-afef72 (Randy’s talk)