Ransomed by a Lamb
…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19, ESV)
If we were to travel back in time to 1552, our time capsule would drop us off at Scotland’s first established public golf course, the Old Course at St. Andrews. While it is understood that the Old Course is the “home of golf,” there are actually few hard facts when it comes to the origins of golf.
Links-style courses usually follow the contours of the land, creating natural mounds. The story behind how bunkers formed is all about sheep. It is believed that these small depressions were scabbed out areas from sheep huddling together against the North Atlantic wind. After playing the 2002 British Open at Turnberry (on the western coast of Scotland) in driving rain and strong winds, I am a believer of this theory.
It was common for sheep to be roaming around the links in those days. Matter of fact, modern golf courses today may not even have fairways if it weren’t for the sheep who grazed between the dunes of the Old Course.
If we hop back in our time capsule and travel further back in history to 1528 BC, we would step into the heat of Egypt where an even more important story about sheep unfolded. After nine plagues had already destroyed Egypt’s prosperity, God told his people to take a lamb—a lamb without blemish or spot (Exodus 12:5), slaughter it, and then brush its blood on the “two doorposts and the lintel of the household where they eat it” (Exodus 12:7). That night all of Egypt’s firstborns were slaughtered, while the blood of the lamb passed over and saved all of Israel.
The Hebrew word for lamb is taleh. The word taleh also gives us the word that means “a sense of covering.” This produces the picture that the Lamb will be our covering. The blood of the lamb covered the sins of God’s people year after year after year. But there was only one Lamb, without blemish or spot, who was able to give his blood as an offering and sacrifice so that all of the human race might be saved—once and for all.
The mystery of the lamb from the very beginning is the mystery of God’s love. Our Messiah, Taleh Elohim, the Lamb of God, is Jesus. By faith we are invited to participate in his mystery.
The nature of God’s love is to give of itself. God, through Jesus, gave his life to save you and me. Today, may we live in the spirit of Jesus’ love by giving love in ways that offer blessing, grace, forgiveness, and kindness.
January 25, 2018
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