29 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: 29 ESV
29 Τῇ ἐπαύριον βλέπει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτόν, καὶ λέγει· Ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου.
JOHN 1: 29 SBLGNT
What a revelation and proclamation of the Gospel! I can imagine standing there witnessing the scene as Jesus approached the area of Bethany and The Baptist spotted him in the distance. I cannot fathom the emotional rush he must have felt.
As we come to the second day of John’s narrative, and we will see the one to come in this first chapter. The first biblical mention of the Lamb appeared is in Genesis 22 when Abraham went to the altar to offer his son Isaac.
Understanding that narrative from Genesis 22 sings volumes to all those who doubt our God’s bountiful grace and love. As Abraham took his son Isaac solemnly up the hill to place on an altar to sacrifice him as the Lord had commanded, is an irony of John the Baptist standing and watching Jesus approach and calling out Behold, the Lamb of God.
Gen 22: 1 – 2 22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
A test of Abraham faith in God and when he was about to strike Isaac, Gen 22: 11-13
11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
And this is the verse that brings full circle how our loving God provides, Gen 22: 14
14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.
Over two thousand ago, on a hill called Calvary, God provided.
“Behold, the Lamb of God” how wonderous our Lord God, who would send his only son as Abraham was about to do the same. God takes on the sins of all humanity on the cross, pure, sinless and divine – God Himself provides.
Throughout the Old Testament, God has offered means and ways for the cleansing of sin through sacrifices offered at the temple. However, his chosen people, the Jews themselves, had forsaken his sovereignty and had soiled the sacred rites given to Moses.
Leviticus 14 talks about lambs as a guilt offering and in Revelation, John came back to it as a triumphal title for the conquering Lord. Merrill Tenny in his book, John: The Gospel of Belief. says, “It combines in one descriptive term the concepts of innocence, voluntary sacrifice, substitutionary atonement, effective obedience, and redemptive power like that of the Passover Lamb (Exod. 12:21–27)”
The full expression Lamb of God is found only here and in the Gospel of John 1:36. Nevertheless, the emphasis on substitutionary atonement, the universal offering of salvation and forgiveness of sin, and the loving divine love of God form the heart and core of the Gospel. As we think about the theme of substitutionary atonement, our minds again rush back to the prophet Isaiah:
Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 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 (Isa. 53:1–5)
“It is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” The Baptist was clear and specific in his proclamation as he saw Jesus approach. Everything that he had revealed and preached has now been justified in the presence of the Lord Himself in the flesh. The Lord has come, and He will take away the sin of the world.
Many scholars debate the singular to the word ‘sin’, but I will not waste time discussing them now as I see them as irrelevant to the nature of our sins. The truth revealed in Jesus Christ is to bring order back into the creation narrative. Where Adam failed and brought sin into the world, Jesus Christ defeated sin, bringing order back into creation. If Adam was the cause of sin and we are inherited in the propensity to sin, God has set all things in order, and God Himself cleanses us of all our sins. We have been washed clean by his blood on the cross. However, we are still burden with our propensity to continue to sin but today we are without excuse.
Did The Baptist realize what was to happen? Whether he did or did not, he knew his work was done, and it has now passed over to the Son of God. He was the voice in the wilderness calling out to all to repent. That voice once, called as a witness, now is witness to who is walking in the flesh for the rest of the world to witness. Everything Jesus did, from this moment onwards, personifies the clarity of God bringing order back to His creation.
We wait in anticipation to subjective influences in our life every day – the business deal, the vacation trip, buying the latest tech toy, or even the latest fashion design or beauty treatment. We live in utter anticipation of our objective desires, and our objectivity has been skewed by the world, governed by the evil one who entices our intimate desires and easily distracts us. Does that mean we become wandering souls in the deserts seeking spiritual unity with God? When propositions and fundamentals of our faith are offered, many people jump to the extreme? There is no extreme and God does not want us voluntary to throw away everything. Continue seeking and working towards your goals because everything you gain is by God’s grace.
Seeking a comfortable life and enjoying the fruits of your labour and hard work is not un-Christian; in fact, we do it within the boundaries of God’s absolutes and maintain a spiritual life that mirrors the life shown in Jesus Christ ultimate glorification of God.
There is no other than God Himself we worship and glorify. There is no substitute in man, for God himself became man to bring us closer to Him. Why would God continue to expect us to pray through anyone or anything? God became man, and God walked in our midst. There was no one in mortal form can ever replace that intimate relationship. Throughout the Old Testament, God sought his chosen to have that relationship, and they all failed. God, Himself has come into our existence and brought that intimacy upfront in our face.
There is no one but Jesus Christ; we bow and worship, for, through Him, we worship the Father in heaven.
BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD
Because we could not.