Jesus’ role as Lamb of God is multi-faceted. We most readily connect it to the sacrificial system of the Old Testament where lamb sacrifices were made as sin offerings (Exodus 39:38-42) and in observance of Passover. In the first case they represented God’s mercy and in the second, His deliverance.
But there are other implications. The thought of the Creator of the universe in human form being led away as a lamb to the slaughter is almost incomprehensible. Yet, Jesus humbled Himself for this cause: to redeem us. The spiritual elite of the day mocked Him for His apparent weakness, but God raised Him up and seated Him at His right hand to reign victorious over His kingdom.
It is gruesome, I know, to consider a lamb’s slaughter, and I will spare the details here. Still, we must understand the vulnerable position Jesus assumed on our behalf. Isaiah painted a worthy picture when he wrote: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows,and familiar with suffering.Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised,and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,yet we considered him stricken by God,smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions,he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray,each of us has turned to his own way;and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:3-7)
It is possible you have heard phrases from this passage all of your life, but have you ever stopped to consider what it meant for the Son of God to allow the world to treat Him this way? None of His actions were necessary for His own survival, and had He not loved us there would have been no motivation to suffer on our behalf. The Lamb of God cannot be understood apart from our sin and our desperate need for redemption. But when we view him in this context, a treasure-store of truth is opened before us.