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Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God

Preacher's Desk

"Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as he walked, [John] said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." John 1:35-36

Have you noticed how often we come across sheep and shepherds in the Bible? It is very often.

Shepherding sheep must have been a common vocation and something people related to in their lives back then.

Shepherds are in the Christmas narrative in Luke Two as they first hear the Gospel message from the angels of Christ's birth. Plus, they are the first to see the Child.

In John 10:11, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, giving life for his sheep. We are the sheep.

Even if we go back to the Old Testament, the 23rd Psalm comes to mind, "...the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want..." Probably the most beloved text in the Bible.

So, in our text, John the Baptist uses one of the most beloved names for Jesus -- the "Lamb of God."

Jesus is the "Lamb of God" who takes away the sin of the world. The words "of God" modify "Lamb."

They modify this "Lamb provided by God," this "Lamb belongs to God," this is the one and only "Lamb of God."

Jesus of Nazareth is this "Lamb of God."

The word "Lamb" denotes "sacrifice." In Jesus is the "Lamb" whose blood is shed. He is the fulfillment of all the sacrifices in the Old Testament.

In this "Lamb of God" lies the idea of being without blemish, without sin, yet our Substitute, our Redeemer.

This "Lamb of God" is sinless Himself, He ranges alongside sinners to take upon Himself and take way the load we never can bear -- the sin of the world.

Think of the "sin of the world" as a mass, a mass of one great body. As many men and women as there have been, are now, and will be in the world, each with his or her daily life stained with so many sins, so many individual masses of sin. All these masses are combined in one super mass -- the sin of the world.

The "world" means the universe of people from Adam and Eve onward to the last babe born before Christ's return.

Sin has but two places where it may be -- either it may be with you and me, so that it lies upon our neck, or upon Christ, the "Lamb of God."

If sin lies upon our neck, we are lost. If, however, it lies upon Christ, through faith we are free. Forgiven! Saved!

What John knows in John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," he knows only by way of revelation, divine inspiration.

It is not a matter of what John's unaided human reason or intuition discerns in God's Lamb, but what God makes known to him.

Now, our salvation is certain, not because of the dubious sinful works we do, but because of the sufferings and blood of this innocent "Lamb of God" who takes them away. It is faith therefore that frees men and women through the blood of Christ Jesus, this "Lamb of God."

Only through God-gifted faith in Christ crucified and risen can we follow him.

We too learn what prompts our hearts to follow Jesus -- we are sinners in need of a savior. In this, the "Lamb of God" crucified and risen, God provides.

John the Baptist is a good example of this in our text. He witnesses Christ. Period. He comes to see and reveal Him. His whole mission is to witness Christ to Israel, and by extension, to us today too.

So, we witness Christ. Through God-given faith, given us through Word and sacrament, we see. Christ is the Son of God. He is the revelation, the fulfillment, the truth of God's Word. It all centers on him.

Chris alone is our sacrificial Lamb. He alone is our substitute on the cross. He alone atones for all our sin. He alone rises from the dead.

Maybe the title "Lamb of God" reminds us of His sacrifice on the cross, or that He is the truth. Or, maybe, that Jesus comes in a friendly form, one us lost sheep can approach still today.

So come and see. Through Word and sacrament, Jesus is the Christ. Our savior. God's lamb, Who out of great love takes away the sin of the world.


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