1 Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Mark 10:44-45
(sermon note: 03-22 sermon note)
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
[Jesus said,] ‘And whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’
The last few weeks we’ve reflected on Jesus being called the “Lamb of God” and the implications of such a title. Someone hearing it for the first time might wonder if Jesus ought to be considered a docile, helpless little creature. After all, isn’t that what lambs are? Is Jesus to be considered a docile, helpless little creature? Well, we know that Jesus is far from a docile, helpless person so the title isn’t necessarily meant to reflect his nature or being in the world. We then consider the roles that lambs play in the world and we quickly remember the Levitical laws of Jesus’ time and how unblemished lambs were used as sacrifices. Ah-ha! Jesus was to be used as a sacrifice. But a sacrifice for what? A sacrifice to ensure a plentiful harvest? More rain? More sun? We look to the prophets and realize that his sacrifice is meant to ease the suffering of the world. The prophet Isaiah repeatedly described a character known as the “suffering servant” who takes on the suffering of the world. The servant takes on the suffering and is then killed, presumably taking the suffering with him. But we know there is still great suffering in the world. The sacrifice didn’t do as it was expected to do. We can’t simply load up Jesus with our suffering and expect it to disappear with his death. Our suffering continues on…
So if Jesus’ death doesn’t get rid of our suffering, then what good was it as a sacrifice? Our readings for this evening help us to understand the purpose of his sacrifice. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul got us to think of how we ought to consider Jesus’ sacrifice not necessarily as an appeasement to God but rather as an appeasement to the Devil. What are the tools of the Devil? Sin and death. Many souls have been won through sin and death. But you know what? Sin and death are only as powerful as we allow them to be. We know that sin leads to death-physically, mentally, or spiritually-and we tend to believe that death is an end. At least we believed that before Jesus came into the picture. Jesus died so that he might conquer death and the power of death…the power of the fear of death, that is. Jesus died so that he could show us there is life after death. Death is not an end but rather a beginning. Jesus had to die to conquer the Devil and destroy the power of his tools. He appeased the Devil, he bought us from the Devil with his very life. We ought to glorify God all the more because we’ve been redeemed from our slavery to sin and death.
Peter understood how Christ’s death freed us from slavery to the Devil. It wasn’t perishable things like silver and gold that bought us back, it was the precious blood of Christ. In the verses from Mark, we heard how we’ve been freed from slavery only to be shackled with a different type of slavery or servitude-serving each other. In serving each other, there is no place for sin or death. There is only room for life. We become slaves to life.
As we continue with our reflection on Jesus being the Lamb of God, let us remember the true purpose of his sacrifice as an appeasement to the Devil instead of God. He sets us free from any power the Devil might have over our lives and for this we give thanks. Thanks be to God!
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.