“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)
As part of my sales route, there is an office I visit about once a month. Each time I’m there, I’m drawn to a picture on the wall. The picture is of a lamb lying contently on top of a crown of thorns and below a reference to Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, yet He opened not His mouth”. In Scripture, a lamb is used in both a literal and symbolic sense. The Israelites viewed lambs as a symbol of innocence, sacrificing them in worship as a burnt offering to make atonement for sin. Under the Mosaic System, these sacrifices had to be repeated. It was required the lambs chosen for sacrifice be without blemish because God deserved only the best. These lambs were also to be unblemished because they pointed forward to a perfect sinless sacrifice.
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” The gospel of John records John the Baptist’ declaration of Jesus as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. What the Old Testament sacrifices had pointed to was now here. The Greek word Lamb used in this verse had to do with daily offerings made in the temple. It makes perfect sense that the image of a lamb in the Old Testament would be more fully developed in the New Testament, for the whole purpose of the Old Covenant (Mosaic System) was to point to the New Covenant mediated by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ fulfilled all the demands of the Old Covenant. He was who Isaiah 53:7 predicted. The blood splattered on those altars pointed directly to the perfect blood that was shed by the Messiah. But whereas the sacrifices under the Old Covenant had to be repeated to atone for sin, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God would atone for sin for all time.
I am always encouraged when I visit this office and see that picture on the wall because it makes me reflect on what it represents. It represents what Christ did at the cross. Because He chose to wear a crown of thorns, I will wear a crown of righteousness. I hope that is your reflection as you read this. But let us not stop there because Jesus is no longer on the cross nor is He in the tomb. He conquered them both and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. That crown of thorns placed on His head to mock Him has been replaced with a crown of glory and honor (Hebrews 2:7). Philippians 2:10-11 says that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The apostle John writes in Revelation that as we sing praises in heaven, we will sing of Jesus saying, “Worthy is the Lamb” for He is a Lamb who will demand our praise. But why wait for heaven? Jesus Christ demands our praise now. So, for all that we have to praise Him for, today praise Jesus as the Lamb of God, the perfect, sinless sacrifice who came to take away your sin and mine. He is worthy!
God, You are worthy of all of our praise. Help me live in the salvation You provide with a grateful heart for the atoning sacrifice of the perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ. Your Word tells us that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess You as Lord. Don’t let me wait for that day. Let me bow before You, confess You as Lord and praise You today and every day. You are more than worthy!