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Lamb Selection Day

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The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

Growing up as a preacher’s kid and now married to a pastor, I often say that Palm Sunday is like the final NFL Playoff game and Easter Sunday is like the Superbowl for pastors. How will you tell the greatest story of all time in a fresh way? What can you include in your message that would convince people to surrender their lives to Jesus?

Besides being in ministry, my husband and I are also dog breeders. Several years ago, our Rhodesian Ridgeback named Nala gave birth to 6 pups. By Easter Sunday, the puppies would be almost 8 weeks old and ready for their forever homes. As we talked about ideas for my husband’s Easter sermon, we thought about how the lamb for the Passover had become like a pet to the family. We couldn’t imagine what it would be like to slaughter one’s family pet! So, I suggested that during his Easter message, I could bring in one of the puppies as a sermon illustration. It wasn’t a lamb, but it could help him make the point.

He agreed; so, we chose the pick of the litter, the one we would sell for top dollar. As expected, the congregation was moved by the illustration, and many people were saved that day.

As Christians, we’re all familiar with Palm Sunday, but did you know that in the time of Jesus, the Sunday before Passover was “lamb selection day?” In other words, it was the day that Jewish families would come to the temple in Jerusalem and choose their “perfect lamb” for the Passover. Then, the family would bring the lamb home to live with them, knowing that within a few days, their new pet would be slaughtered for the Passover meal (Exodus 12:3,5,6).

So, when Jesus entered Jerusalem on lamb selection day, it was as if He was presenting Himself to the people and asking them, “Will you choose me?” And Jesus wasn’t just riding through the streets for attention, He had a destination. As the Lamb of God, could it be that Jesus was headed to the temple to present Himself before His Father and to be approved for sacrifice (Leviticus 1:3)?

As Jesus approached the city, His disciples “began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen” (Luke 19:37). However, when the crowds joined in, the atmosphere changed and became more like a political rally. The people shouted, “Hosanna” and waved palm branches. In Death and Resurrection of the Messiah, author and minister Ray Vander Laan writes:

Hosanna meant “Please save us! Give us freedom! We’re sick of these Romans!” They waved palm branches, a symbol that once had been placed on Jewish coins when the nation was free. The branches did not symbolize peace and love, as Christians usually assume; they symbolized Jewish nationalism, an expression of the people’s desire for political freedom.”

And for the second time in Scripture, Jesus wept (Luke 19:41). The Lamb of God was there, the only One worthy to be slain for the sins of all mankind, yet the people only wanted a political deliverer.

What will your response be on Lamb Selection Day? Will you choose Jesus as your perfect Lamb? Will you believe in the power of the Lamb’s blood, which is able to take away your sins and make you truly free?


Scripture is quoted from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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About The Author

Lori Stewart
Wilkerson Stewart

Lori Wilkerson Stewart (M.A. in Journalism, Regent University) is a line producer for The 700 Club (2008-2023) and the author of Promises for Prodigals (Guy/Girl versions). Lori and her husband Matt are the senior pastors of Harvest Assembly in Chesapeake, VA. The couple is crazy about their three adult children and two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

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