God is a God of patterns and numbers. No, I’m not trying to do the “numbers” thing, and make more out of Scripture than it says. How about examples? In the great apocalyptic book of Revelation, we read about seven churches, spirits, lamps stands, horns, eyes, angels, seals, trumpets, bowls, thunders, crowns, plagues, mountains, kings, and songs. How about the number 12? There are twelve tribes of Israel, apostles, gates, foundations, 24 elders, 12,000 from each tribe making up the 144,000, and the wall of the New Jerusalem measures 144 cubits, a multiple of 12. That is a lot to take in from just one book of the Bible, but it is a bit of a revelation of how God is thinking.
Still, He is past finding out, and can be a patter breaker. Just when we think we have Him figured out, He does something different. I rediscovered this recently in our series through the gospel of John which we have entitled, The Glory of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Chapters 18 & 19 provide John’s account of the sufferings and crucifixion of Christ. If you have hung around the Bible for a time, along with preachers and teachers of the Word, then you may already know that the Old Testament sacrificial system was a shadow of the Lamb of God who was to come. In the Old Testament, the blemish-free lamb was chosen and brought to the Tabernacle. There, after hands were laid on it, the lamb would be mercifully bled out, the blood being caught for use in their ceremonies, and the carcass used in sacrifices.
When Jesus, the Lamb of God was offered to take away the sins of the whole world, God changed the pattern. The lamb in the Old Testament was mercifully killed. Our Lamb was brutally killed. Jesus was tortured, beaten, slapped, bludgeoned, and scourged. The Old Testament lamb was treated differently. Why did God break this pattern? Why did God not send His Lamb straight to the cross and bypass such humiliation and suffering? I can come up with several reasons. We get a small glimpse of this knowledge from 1 Corinthians 11:24 where we read, “Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” “BROKEN FOR YOU.”
Next, look at Isaiah 53. We are told HE WAS WOUNDED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSION, BRUISED FOR OUR INIQUITIES, CHASTENED FOR OUR PEACE, AND STRIPES WERE LAID ON HIM FOR OUR HEALING. Without splitting hairs, the process of atonement began in John 19:22 when the servant of the high priest made the first contact, slapping Jesus across the face. He was then tortured and mocked by the Jews, and later that early morning by the Romans, before being forced to attempt to carry His cross. It is accurate to say that His blood was shed first in the Temple precincts, then in the Roman fortress, and then through the streets of Jerusalem all the way to Golgatha. What began in the Temple, the process of shedding His blood for our sins, continued until He cried from the cross, “It is finished.”
The lamb of the Old Testament was mercifully killed. Our Lamb was brutally killed, and with every stroke of the whip, every punch of the fist, every strike of the rod, He was atoning for our sins. Isaiah says, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand” (Is 53:10, KJV). The judge of the whole earth submitted Himself to the judges on the earth so He could judge sin and redeem us to God.