From The Crucified Is My Love
The next day John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Isaac asked his father, Abraham, on that strange journey, (Genesis 22:7). His father answered, deeply moved, “God will provide for himself the lamb.” But the lamb that God the Lord would in fact provide as a sacrifice for the lost world was described in this way by the prophet Isaiah: “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, so he opened not his mouth,” (v. 53:7).
Now John the Baptist stands in the fertile Jordan Valley. Light flows in his eyes, and lightning flashes from his preaching. His disciples surround him and very mixed throngs of people listen to his words.
Suddenly he is silent. Jesus of Nazareth, at that time still an unknown man, walks into the crowd’s sight. John looks at him. The Spirit of God comes over him, and he recognizes in the simple wanderer the Messiah, promised and looked for with longing hearts for thousands of years, the servant of Jehovah, the Lamb of God.
Overwhelmed by this recognition, John points to the approaching man and calls out the momentous words, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” This utterance has made him the greatest of the prophets. What depth there is in these words! John grasps the divine mission of Jesus and his innermost nature, will, and work. He looks into the heart of God and into the opened heavens, but he also sees the curse of humankind’s sin. He sees this burden laid upon the shoulders of this one man, who bears it and takes it away by his atoning death – and so sets the lost world free and founds a new, transfigured world.
Yes, this Jesus is the pure lamb. No one can accuse him of any sin, and the Father himself bears witness, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17). He is also the patient lamb, for he was obedient unto death, even to death on the cross. He is the gentle lamb, for while bleeding on the cross, he prays that his enemies may be forgiven. In everything he is the Lamb of God, the holy sacrificial lamb, through whom all who believe in him will be perfected in eternity.
This Lamb of God is our Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, who loves us too with his eternal love. He suffered and died for us too in order to make us blessed. Shouldn’t we love him in return? Shouldn’t we be grateful to him and faithfully follow him?
Today the time of celebrating the memory of his suffering and death begins. Will this Lenten season be a blessing to us? How often have we already lived through it, and how often has it passed by! Perhaps it now comes to us for the last time. Shall we die without taking the Lamb of God into our hearts? May God in his grace preserve us from that. May he overcome all the resistance of our old nature and bless this time of Lent for our eternal salvation.