Behold the Lamb

John 1:29-37

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  This is He of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’  I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”  And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.  I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”  Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.  And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

There are nearly 70 references to the Lamb in the Old Testament, most refer to the lamb as a sacrifice for sin.

  • God will provide the lamb

Genesis 22:7 – But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”  And he said, “Here I am, my son.”  Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”

  • Lamb must be pure and holy – representing Christ

Exodus 12:5 — Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

  • Christ was pure and holy

1 Peter 1:19 – but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

  • In the Old Testament an offering had to be made as atonement for sin.  It all points to Christ as that offering.  Christ fulfilled once and for all that required sacrifice when He gave Himself willingly.

John 10:17-18 – Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.

  • Exodus 12 tells us of the first Passover when the Israelites applied the blood of the lamb to their homes and were saved when the death angel slayed the first born in every home where the blood was not applied.  Symbolically, the Passover pictured the coming of Jesus Christ as the Savior.  The lamb without blemish pictured His sinless life and the blood sprinkled on the door posts pictured His blood shed for the believer.  It was a sign that the life and blood of the innocent lamb had been substituted for the firstborn.  The eating of the lamb pictured the need for spiritual nourishment gained by feeding on Christ, the Bread of Life.  The unleavened bread pictured the need for putting evil out of one’s life and household.  It was the blood of the lamb that saved the people.  The lamb was sacrificed.  Its blood was shed as a substitute for the people.  The lamb symbolized Christ our Passover who was sacrificed for us.  If we believe and apply His blood to our hearts and homes, He saves us.  If we do not believe and do not apply the blood to our hearts and homes, we are destroyed.  It is the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for us; it is His blood which saves us.

John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

1 Peter 1:18-19 – knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,  but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

  • Historically, two lambs were sacrificed “day by day continually…the one in the morning and the other at even.

Exodus 29:38-39 – Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually.  One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight.

  • The people knew their sins had separated them from God and that their sins had to be removed before they could be reconciled to God.  Thus, symbolically, the sins of the people were removed from the people and placed upon the two animals.  The animals, without blemish, had the sins of the people placed upon them; and, symbolically, they bore the judgment of sin, which was death.  They were sacrificed for sin, and by their death, they symbolically set the people free by redeeming them from their sins.  Note:  It was not the deed that caused God to remove the sins, but the faith of the person in God’s Word that He would remove the sins.

Isaiah 53:6-7 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.

1 Corinthians 5:7 – Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

1 Peter 2:22-24 – Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

Revelation 5:6; 6:1; 7:9, 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:9; 21:22

Jesus Christ is

  • The perfect Lamb of God, without sin
  • The One upon whom the sins of the people were placed
  • The One who bore the judgment for sin, which was death
  • The One who was sacrificed for sin
  • The One whose death sets people free by redeeming them
  • The One whose blood is counted precious both by God and believers

It should be noted the Christ willingly offered Himself as the sacrificial Lamb, as our substitute and God willingly accepted the offering and sacrifice of His Son for us.  God is satisfied with the settlement for sin that Christ made.  If any person really believes the blood of Christ to be precious, really believes that the blood of Christ covers his sins, God will take that person’s belief and count it as righteousness.  That person is counted righteousness by God.

John 10:17-18 – Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.

Romans 5:1 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:1-2 – My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

The “Lamb of God” is not of men but of God.  The idea is that the Lamb belonged to God, that God gave, supplied and provided the Lamb for Abraham as a substitute for Isaac.  This speaks volumes about:

  • The unbelievable love of God for man

John 3:16 — For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

  • The great sacrifice and humiliation Christ underwent for man

Philippians 2:6-8 – who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

  • The forgiveness of sins and salvation which came from God’s grace and not from man’s resources and works

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

The “Lamb of God” takes away the sin of the world

The phrase “takes away” (airon) means “to lift away, to carry off, to bear in behalf of one, as one’s substitute.  Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who bore our sins.  He lifted our sins off of us and carried them away.

1 Peter 2:24 – who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

John the Baptist was simply pointing out the “Lamb of God” to the people – Here is the Lamb of God we have been waiting for

We must point the Lamb of God to others – fulfill the Great Commission

  • It is not the great exception
  • We cannot leave it to somebody else to do
  • When people are lonely – “Behold the Lamb”
  • When people are in turmoil – “Behold the Lamb”
  • When people are sick, in pain – “Behold the Lamb”

Behold

  • To perceive through sign or understanding
  • To see
  • To gaze upon
  • To observe
  • To call attention to
  • We need to do more than just behold
  • More than see
  • More than observe
  • More than call attention

We need to

  • Receive the Lamb of God for our self
  • Receive the Lamb of God as our Lord and Master
  • Serve and glorify the Lamb of God in our own life
  • Point out the Lamb of God to others

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