29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
I have been doing some reading of the Pentateuch recently and in the Moody Commentary entry on Leviticus it says how the book helps us to understand Jesus’ life. The sacrifices of the Pentateuch paid for the sin of Israel. Each individual had to bring a sin offering to pay for their sin. The wages of sin is death. The death of an animal foreshadowed the death that Jesus would die. The animals had to be sacrificed repeatedly in the tabernacle and the temple in order for the people to draw near to God. Now God draws near to the people and provides his own Son as a sin offering.
The Son pays the price for sin in his death. That means that the death he dies is the death that we should die. There is a lot of blood and horror in Leviticus and the Pentateuch and there is a lot of horror at the cross. Blood is thrown over the people, the altar and poured with alarming frequency. We are alarmed because most of our interaction with lambs, cattle, and poultry is shrink wrapped in the supermarket. My children are surprised and horrified when they realize that chicken nougats are made from chickens. The Passover Lamb spent time eating, drinking and sleeping in the family home. It’s easier to see the price the lamb pays under those circumstances.
Jesus was born to take the price and bridge the chasm between a holy God and humans stained by evil. Beyond that, all of creation is restored through the death and rebirth available in Christ. The question is how seriously do we take the concept of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?
Father God, you bought us at great cost. You removed the horror of our sin by having the ghastly consequences taken by your son. Your Son was obedient and perfect, but he was a man like us walking the shores of the Jordan. Help us to have a relationship with your Son which is overflowing with gratitude because we are more aware of our condition without you.
- How does John describe Jesus?
- What is the biblical meaning of a lamb?
- How does Jesus fit John’s description?
- How do people today think of lambs?
- How can the symbol of Jesus as Lamb be further developed by Jesus’ followers?