Behold, the Lamb of God!
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:26
Why the Lamb of God?
Why did John the Baptist call Jesus the Lamb of God? What deep meaning is imbedded in this awesome name of Christ?
We might picture our shepherd, Jesus, walking by a gentle stream, holding a baby lamb. But to the Israelites, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,” would have evoked a powerful imagery of animal sacrifice.
Once a year, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. On the Passover, lambs were sacrificed to remember the day that God delivered Israel and judged Egypt and Pharaoh for their continued and constant resistance by killing every first born in the land, both man and beast. The Israelites, in order to escape this fearful judgment, were instructed to take a lamb without blemish, kill it, apply its blood on the doorposts and the lintel of their homes, and roast and eat the lamb. God said to the Israelites; “When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13) Hence, the day was named, the “Passover.”
When John saw Jesus, he proclaimed that Jesus was the lamb who would be slaughtered, whose blood would be applied to all those who believe, that we might be saved form the judgment of God. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Passover lamb. The Old Testament showed shadows of the things to come, and Christ is the reality to which the passover lamb pointed to. Isaiah 53:7 describes Christ in this way: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth…” and this Christ is the one who bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows, pierced for our transgressions–by whose wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).
Why You Must Believe This
Now dear reader, please understand this. There are many instances in the Bible which refer to Christ as the Lamb of God (sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22, Revelations 5), but what John was emphasizing in introducing Jesus as the Lamb of God was this: Here is a man, the God-man, who was in every way tempted as we are, but without sin, in order that he may the perfect mediator of a new covenant (Hebrews 4:15). By his sacrifice on the cross, we have forgiveness and peace with God. By his blood we are cleansed. By his wounds, we are healed.
In other words, Christ came to repair the damage that exists between us and God, which exists because of our sins. Sin blinds us, sin makes us selfish, sin makes us fall short of the glory of God, and sin is ultimately damning. John 8:24 says that “If you do not believe that I am he (the savior of the world), you will indeed die in your sins.”
But because Jesus was not sinful like us, but rather, he was perfect, the Bible says that “the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin,” and that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us fro all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (John 1:7-9). He lived the life we should have lived, and died the death we should have died. He is the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice.
Friend, there is no other way out of sin, no other cure, than the blood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews makes this clear, that the blood of animals could not take away sins, but “Jesus entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves by by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself with blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Let us then believe, set our hearts and eyes upon his grace, and begin to serve the living God!
What Can I Do to Be Saved?
Without Christ, we are dead in our sins. Without Christ, you are still dead in your sins, and you will die in your sins (John 8:24). You must be born again. In order to be born again you must believe that Jesus is, as John preached, the Lamb of God, the only one who can take away the sins of the world.
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
Behold him! Believe in him! Christ is the way, the truth, and the life–there is life in his name. This Christmas, beloved, behold Christ, and believe that he died to take away the sins of the world–your personal sins. This Christmas, behold Christ, and remember that he is the perfect provision of God to procure your salvation. This Christmas, behold Christ, and know that your sins are forgiven, and you are washed as white as snow, called now His child. This Christmas, behold Christ, and share with your family, friends, and coworkers why we celebrate this season–“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
Photograph above by HD Wallpapers Mall.
Brian Hwang is the EM and Youth Pastor at Korean United Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA. He is currently pursuing a MDiv in Missions & Intercultural Studies at Talbot School of Theology. He loves Jesus; his church, family & friends; and his future wife and kids.