Behold The Lamb Of God #2
God wants people to behold the gentle and sacrificial character of Christ.
There is no doubt the identification “Lamb of God” in John 1:29 and 36 is a reference to Jesus Christ. In the verses preceding those two, John, the gospel writer, explains that He was God incarnated (v. 14). From other New Testament passages, we know that Christ was also crucified, resurrected and coronated (1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Acts 2:22-36; Ephesians 1:20-23).
John the Baptist’s presentation of Jesus as the Lamb of God implies that God wants people to behold, that is pay attention to, the gentle and sacrificial character of His Son. This is an effort calculated to draw all men and women to Christ so that they might be saved by Him. That honest men, that is men who love the truth, would be able to come to Christ and be convinced of His atoning death was once expressed by Jesus Himself. He said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself.” He meant His sacrificial death on the cross (John 12:32).
So, when John called Jesus the Lamb of God, he must have thought of the divine redemptive work. God had a plan to save mankind from sin, which was first stipulated in the beginning. God’s scheme of redemption is thus expressed in the book of Genesis: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The seed of woman there refers to the Messiah or Christ (cf. Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16) while “thee [or you, cc]” represents Satan, the instigator of sin (Genesis 3:1-7).
There are occasions in Scripture when Christ’s death on the cross is stated to be God’s work. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8,
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Paul further says that God “spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all” (v. 32). Christ went to the cross to offer Himself as the Lamb of God to save, not only the Jews, but the world.
Christ died for all (2 Corinthians 5:19), including the Romans whom Paul addressed this epistle. God provided in His Son the perfect sacrifice whereby He pronounced the Romans justified. These people had been involved in a number of sins that Paul cataloged in the Roman letter (Romans 1:23-32).
God’s great plan of salvation by means of a lamb was announced in the days of the Covenant God made with Israel by prophets such as Isaiah. Isaiah said in the 53rd chapter of his book,
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
6 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.
The sacrifice of the Lamb of God also implies man’s limitation in the face of sin. At the same time, it reveals God’s boundless love for man. Because of sin, the human race was in a helpless situation. Paul said in Romans 5:6, “when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Mankind had been separated from God on account of sin (Isaiah 59:2) and was for that reason headed to hell (Revelation 21:8).
Today man may have difficulty to understand that we are without strength because of all the technological accomplishments characteristic of the 21st century. However, when it comes to being saved, and becoming a child of God with the hope of having with God a relationship that will last for eternity, there was nothing we could do. It all had to be done by God. God made all that happen for us through a Lamb. Christ as a lamb bore the sins of the human family and died in the place of sinners.
Now that Christ has died for all men, He can rightfully command all men to submit to His God-given authority (Matthew 28:18). He said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Will you yield to His command? The Bible says, “behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Do not put your salvation off!