The names or titles given to Jesus tell us important information about who He is.

Have you ever had a lamb as part of your Easter dinner?

Have you seen art that shows a lamb holding a triumphant banner?

Jesus is the Lamb of God. John the Baptist first called Jesus this when he saw him at the River Jordan. John did not mean that Jesus was warm, cuddly, or soft.

In the Old Testament, when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, the final sign that God had Moses perform was the Passover. The Israelites were to slaughter an unblemished male lamb for each family. They would eat its (roasted) flesh and mark their doors with its blood. The Angel of Death would know to Passover the homes protected by the blood but take the lives of the firstborn of the Egyptians who were not protected by the blood of the lamb.

The prophets used the image of the lamb to describe the Messiah who was to come. When John identifies Jesus, he is identifying him as Messiah and foretelling His passion, death, and resurrection with Jesus’ ultimate blood sacrifice once and for all for the people. Jesus is the innocent victim killed at the Passover that year.

But this is also an image of victory. The Book of Revelation praises the Lamb that was slain and invites the righteous to the wedding feast of the Lamb to join the Church, the New Jerusalem, and heaven with the Lord.

Jesus is also called the Good Shepherd of the flock. This is a jump from being the lamb to being the Shepherd, but this is a continuation of His role after the sacrifice of the lamb and Jesus’ resurrection. He gave his life as sacrificial lamb and good shepherd.

A shepherd of the sheep is the one who protects, guides, and nurtures his flock. The shepherd, as opposed to the hired hand, knows all the sheep. He knows if one of the flock is missing and seeks it out. He guards the only gate to the sheep pen. No one comes or goes except by him and he guards the sheep with his life. The sheep know his voice and follow it. He gives life and protects it. This image, drawn from real life, is somewhat foreign to the experience of many people today but is a good image still of Jesus.

The lamb comes from a flock and a shepherd guards and guides a flock.

But who is the flock?

Originally, it referred to the People of Israel. Now, it is understood that the Lord’s sheep are those who follow Jesus. They hear His voice. They accept Him in their hearts, offering their hearts to Him. They proclaim Him with their mouths, pledging to be His servants.

The sheep of the Lord’s flock keep his commandments so that their lives reflect the joy and peace they know and start showing what the coming of the Kingdom of God will be like. The most important commandment is to love one another.