How are you investing time in January 2016, the first month of the New Year? Did you make any resolutions? Have you keep them? Fitness goals, financial changes, family priorities, Facebook reductions? Those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ are exhorted to ‘redeem the time.’
In Exodus 12 as the LORD directed Moses and Aaron with instructions for the whole community of Israel, He urged them to observe the Passover. “This month,” He indicated, “is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” (Exodus 12:2)
The Passover meal centred on the preparation of a lamb. I can recall my Dad, in his pastoral ministry, preaching from this passage on various occasions as he taught God’s word. Dad cared for sheep, both kinds (literal and spiritual) in his multiple roles God entrusted to him.
Here’s the outline, which I still remember…
A) A LAMB for a MAN – Genesis 4 – The story of Abel and his offering of a lamb still serves as a written testimony to his faith.
B) A LAMB for a FAMILY – Exodus 12 – This Passover lamb symbolized the deliverance the LORD was providing for His people. It is still celebrated by Jews today, but Jesus Christ, in the midst of His final Passover meal on earth, took bread and wine and provided new instruction about the deliverance He would provide at the cross.
C) A LAMB for a NATION – I Samuel 7 – Here Samuel, both prophet and priest, mediates God’s help for the nation of Israel, who are in ongoing conflict with their enemies, the Philistines.
D) A LAMB for the WHOLE WORLD – John 1 – This is where the Bible is moving in its Christ-centredness. John the Baptist, cousin to Jesus points his disciples in a new direction and broadens for them their scope of understanding of substationary atonement.
Those of us who have been ‘redeemed’ by the blood of the Lamb of God would do well to devote time and energy to focusing our attention on this theme. Singing about, studying, and serving the Lamb of God is a great activity for ‘the first month, the first month of your year.’