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Monday, May 20, 2013

BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD: It's more than you think!

by Susan Fox
“God so loved the world, He gave His only Son.”(John 3:16)

When I was a young girl I had to study Bible History in grade school. I can still remember those pictures of Abraham dragging his son Isaac up that hill while the poor unsuspecting boy didn’t know he was going to be killed.

At the time, the story was presented to me as a test of Abraham’s faith in the Lord. I just thought God was mean to ask it of Abraham in the first place.
Isaac carrying the wood for the sacrifice
a figure for Jesus Christ.
"Where's the Sacrifice, Dad?"

Later, I understood that when Isaac – burdened with a load of wood – wondered out loud where was the sacrifice, Abraham answered prophetically, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the sacrifice.”

The Lamb Who was Sacrificed:
Behold the Lamb of God
Who Takes Away the Sins of the World.
“Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world!” You can almost hear St. John the Baptist entering the stage upon seeing Jesus millenniums later.

When he said, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the sacrifice,” Abraham thought his son Isaac would be that sacrifice. But it appears that God the Holy Spirit anticipated that Jesus would be the sacrifice when he inspired Abraham to say that.  

Of course, Isaac was saved at the last minute by an angel, who said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy… Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

So, yes, it was a test. And Isaac was an image, a type for Jesus Christ, who would one day carry the wood of the cross on His back, and that wood would become the instrument of His torture and death.

But I still felt that God was somewhat selfish because He sent “His Son.” I know that Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, volunteered for the job, but why didn’t the Father or the Holy Spirit offer to go instead?

But one day I finally understood the unadulterated, pure self-giving love of God. The understanding came when the Apostle Philip asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

It’s almost eerie when you hear Jesus answer, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”

So when God so loved the world He sent His Son, He actually gave Himself in His totality because “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.” Jesus and the Father are One.

When a man gives his seed in the marriage bed, that is an act of self-giving love. And no man wants to send his son in to be tortured and killed.  But if that were to happen, the son who is killed is not the same person as the father. They are two different people. The son alone would go through the torture and death, not the father.

But when God the Father approached the Blessed Virgin Mary through the Angel Gabriel, He was really offering much, much more. He didn’t just give Mary seed, He gave her Himself in His Son, and in that fruitful giving (overshadowed by the Holy Spirit) Jesus was conceived in her womb. But so was the Father -- in His Divine Nature -- because as Jesus said, “The Father and I are One.”

“The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John 14:10)

As Catholics and Christians, we tend to divide God up and think of three instead of one.  We have to sort them out. One is the Creator, One is the Redeemer and One is the Sanctifier.

But through the message of the angel Gabriel, only One God approached the Blessed Virgin Mary. God Himself humbly asked Mary to receive Him in her womb.  She – unlike the rest of us – knew exactly who she was. “I am the Handmaid of the Lord.”

And for a servant of God only one answer is possible: “Yes! Be it done to me according to your word.”

And so Jesus became the Son of the Handmaid, and the Father placed His own Glory within Mary.  The Lamb He provided for the sacrifice – it was God Himself!


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