I walked up to the open market, expecting to find butchered lamb, packaged and ready for sale. But as I approached, it became clearer and clearer that this was not the situation. The first thing that caught my attention was the sound of lambs bleating. “Have they not been slaughtered yet?” I wondered in disbelief. Coming closer I saw that some had. Two lay dead on the ground, their necks stained red with fresh blood. Next I saw a shallow pool of red blood flowing down a drain designed for rain run off. Customers stood waiting to purchase the freshly slain animals. While the merchants busily moved about. Some held down the quietly submissive animals, taking knifes to their throats. Others worked at preparing the animals for sale. The lambs were being skinned, drained of blood, and weighed.
The sight became too much for me, and I turned away and saw a few young lambs, untouched in a cart, waiting for their turn. It was these lambs which I heard before I saw any dead. But now the surprise I had felt at hearing live lambs turns to pity and sorrow, knowing that they too will soon be slaughtered. Then I thought of Christ and all the lambs slaughtered during the Old Testament system. I left the market empty-handed, unable to buy a lamb for our Easter meal. But I took with me something far more valuable: the thought that if God is a God of love, which I firmly believe He is, how great is my sin that the taking of innocent life was continually necessary in the Old Testament! And all the more, how great is my sin that Jesus Christ (the lamb of God) was slaughtered for me!
“You were ransomed . . . 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).