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Thursday, February 23

Deuteronomy 7:6-12 (NRSV)

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession. It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you—for you were the fewest of all peoples. It was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharoah king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations, and who repays in their own person those who reject him. He does not delay but repays in their own person those who reject him. Therefore, observe diligently the commandment—the statutes, and the ordinances—that I am commanding you.

John 1:29-34 (NRSV)

The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”


Christ’s journey to the cross began long before Holy Week and his eventual crucifixion; it began with God’s promises to the people of Israel. These verses outline God’s covenants: first with Israel as the Lord’s chosen people and the commandments they must follow, second proclaiming Christ as the Lamb of God, come to take away the sin of the world.

God made the first covenant with the Israelites, knowing that they would not be able to uphold their end, yet he not only made and kept these promises, he built in a path to redemption for them. In the first passage there are conditions placed upon those whom the Lord has chosen as his people, rules they must follow and ways they must live to illustrate their relationship with God. But by the second passage the all-encompassing unconditionality of God’s love is made abundantly clear to us. The magnitude of John’s proclamation of Jesus as the Lamb of God draws on the established importance of sacrificial lambs going back to the first Passover and the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt; then the lamb signified God’s promise to Israel, now it stands for his promise to all humanity.

Throughout Lent our focus tends to be drawn to the events immediately prior to the death of Christ, but these passages remind us that the crucifixion is not the result of a series of unfortunate events but rather the fulfillment of a generations-long promise, one God made knowing we wouldn’t be able to always hold up our end–yet he made it anyway.


Heavenly Father,

Throughout this Lenten season we are thankful for the reminder of the covenants you have made with us and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who gave up his life so that our sin and the sin of the world may be washed away. In your name we pray, amen.

LeeLee Hunter

YouTube Videos:

  • Agnus Dei, Missa in tempore belli (Mass in Time of War)— Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) – HERE
  • Agnus Dei—Georges Bizet (1838-1875) – HERE