ATP Blog John 1:29
Lamb of God
Jesus Christ is so many things: Word of God, Light from God, Witness for God. Today’s verses describe the most important thing Jesus came to do. John the baptizer saw Jesus coming toward the group at the river, and told the crowd that was with him, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Behold! It seems like such a short ministry that John the Baptist had, but here we are, halfway through John chapter one, and we come to the transition statement, moving from the preparatory ministry of John to the ministry of the One he was sent to prepare the world for. Until now, John had been a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. His message had been one of repentance, and a preparation of the heart for the message of the promised Messiah. When the Bible uses the word ‘Behold’ it is a strong word meant to make people take notice. John is now ready to introduce the One he had been preparing people for.
The Lamb. Have you ever wondered why Jesus was called a lamb? Throughout the New Testament, we see clearly that Jesus Christ was to be the sacrifice that would pay the penalty for our sins, in accordance with God’s law, found in the Old Testament. The law given to Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai states clearly that to deal with their sins, sacrifices must take place, for ‘without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.’ Leviticus 17:11 (with a reminder in Hebrews 9:22) tells us about this requirement. The sin offering from Abel, to Egypt, to Sinai, was always a perfect lamb. Perfection points to Christ’s perfect life, necessary to pay for the sins of all human-kind. The lamb represents value and innocence. Sheep were greatly valued, especially unblemished ones. Lambs are young and innocent, perfect for taking the place of a human who had sinned.
Of God. In the Old Testament, the sacrifice costed the person who wished to be cleansed of their sins, as it was their possession that was killed on the altar. Jesus was the sacrifice for mankind, but the cost was God’s. The Almighty Creator has compassion on us, loving us so deeply, that He was willing to take the cost, and provide the sacrifice necessary.
Who takes away the sin of the world. So, what is the difference between Jesus, the Lamb of God, and the sacrificial lambs of the Old Testament? First, Jesus Christ is a human being, which gives Him the ability to choose between right and wrong! Second, He was born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit, enabling Him to be without the sin nature, which is passed down through human fathers (Romans 5:12). Third, Jesus Christ was fully grown into manhood (age about 30), making Him fully accountable for His thoughts and actions before God. It is because of all this that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ could be once for all. That is, all sin of all mankind, for all time (past, present, future) ... for those who accept the gift. To receive the forgiveness of sins, the offender needed to be present at the sacrifice, and accept responsibility. Likewise, we need to accept the responsibility for our sins, then accept the gift of salvation via the sacrifice of God’s Lamb in our place. The lambs of the Old Testament only covered the sins of the person for that year. Jesus Christ, Lamb of God, cleanses away our sins for good.
Your Response. So, what will you do about the sacrifice God made in your place? Are you willing to admit that you have sinned (and continue to sin) according to God’s perfect standard? Are you willing to take responsibility, then accept the gift of salvation by submitting to God’s rule in your life, in place of the rule of sin? Then, we need to remember that God puts our sins (which have been repented of) into a deep lake with a ‘No Fishing’ sign. It is up to you to remind the devil, and others, that those sins have been dealt with! Let us cling to Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God!