My series on the “Journey to Easter…Symbols and Traditions” continues.
Contemporary American Easter decorations feature baby animals of all kinds, especially chicks and lambs. This is because Easter falls in spring, a season when many animals give birth to their young. The lamb, however, represents much more than spring. It is an ancient symbol for Jesus, and in particular his death and resurrection.
The events of Jesus death and resurrection occured during Passover, a Jewish holy day in which they remember that God slew the firstborn of everyone in Egypt except the Jewish people who had sacrificed and eaten a lamb and placed it’s blood on the doorposts of their homes. Every year this day is remembered with a Seder meal.
Early Christians thought of Jesus as a new sacrifice whose voluntary suffering and death washed away their sins and led them from spiritual slavery into an new relationship with God, by using the phrase “the Lamb of God”. In many Christian works of art, the lamb is used as a symbol of Jesus.