The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Instant replay in sports enables officials, commentators and fans to see the plays from every conceivable angle. In some cases, God’s Word affords us similar concepts. When Jesus comes toward John, his cousin and forerunner exclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” In those profound words, John speaks of Jesus with a word picture that encompasses the whole of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. This one image allows us to see Jesus from every angle as promised Messiah to suffering Servant to victorious King. During this Lenten season, we take time to consider Christ is both the prophecy and the fulfillment, the hope and the consummation.
John the Baptist’s words help us to see Jesus from the angle of the time when Abraham assured his son Isaac that God would provide the lamb for the sacrifice in Genesis 22. As the Israelites prepared the Lamb without blemish for the Passover meal and spread the blood of the Lamb on the doorframe of the house, John’s words also enable us to see Jesus as the paschal Lamb whose redeemed God’s people by shedding His own blood. John’s words were not just from the angle of the past and fulfillment of those past prophecies, but also promise about redemptive work still to come. His words anticipate the One who is both the Host and the Meal, Shepherd and Sacrifice. When Christ the blood comes forth from Jesus’ side, He is the fulfillment of John’s words, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
But there remains another angle that John’s words draw to mind. In Revelation chapter 5, prophecy yet to be fulfilled, hope waiting for its consummation, the saints are gathered around the Lamb who was slain. This is the One who is found to be worthy of power and wealth, wisdom and might, honor, glory and blessing. This Lamb who was slain is the One who is victorious and receives the unending song of praise from the saints is an image that is still waiting to happen as we anticipate the wedding feast of the Lamb in His kingdom that shall have no end.
Whether looking backward or forward or from any conceivable angle, John the Baptist’s words remind us that our focus is always on Jesus. He was the one in whom Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness. He was the deliverance for Moses and the children of Israel. And He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world by His death and resurrection and to whom we will offer our eternal praise as we gather around His throne in glory. During this Lenten season and all your days, may your eyes remain fixed on Jesus, the Lamb of God.
Prayer – Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us Your peace. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan