Even the most mundane events in Israel can take on unexpected meaning. As we drove into one of the national parks, we saw a large flock of sheep lying down in a wide green pasture. It was a picture straight out of Psalm 23:2, and I was admittedly annoyed that our bus driver did not stop so we could photograph it. When we drove back out of the park an hour later, the teenaged shepherds who were tending this flock had roused them and begun to herd them away. It was then that our bus driver decided to stop, and a few people got off the bus to snap some pictures.
I already had photos of sheep being herded, so I didn’t bother to get off the bus. Still, I went ahead and snapped a few shots through the window. It was then the flock parted to reveal a spotless white lamb who seemed to make a point of posing for the camera.
Of course, there is nothing particularly remarkable about a lamb in the middle of a flock of sheep, but this spotless lamb’s sudden appearance reminded me of the sacrificial lambs which the Law required to be “without blemish” (Exodus 12:5). More than that, it reminded me of “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Like the lambs that were sacrificed in the temple, this Lamb of God had to be spotless so that His blood could atone for our sin:
For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:18–21, HCSB)