The Lamb of God
Text: John 1:29
One of the things that I was absolutely delighted about when I first arrived here was that the text over the doorway of this church was John 1:29. There are many texts that our churches use for that kind of thing; We preach Christ crucified, justified by his blood, etc.
But to me to have a text that calls every saint and sinner to look to the redeemer of men is the most appropriate text of all.
In my home congregation, this is the text that they have on the back wall behind the preacher. Both in the new church and the old church building. In fact, when they pulled down the old church in 2005 or so, there was a day or two where the front and side walls had been demolished, exposing the last standing wall to the entire passing populace.
Everyone driving or walking past could see the text ‘Behold the Lamb of God’. One a day woman passing read the text and couldn’t get it out of her mind, so much so she came to Christ.
John the Baptist’s one duty was to prepare the way for Christ. Christ was the only reason for his existence. It superseded everything else he may have been identified as. The son of Zacharias and Elizabeth, a Levitical priest, a Jew, no, he was preeminently the forerunner to Christ.
And his thoughts about Christ were predominantly on his work of atonement. Dealing with the condemnation of sinners. His mind and ministry were not only Christ-ward, they were Cross-ward. And beloved, it needs to be both. Thinking of Christ detached from His atoning work misses the whole point.
I. THE PREVALENCE OF THE LAMB
This is the key to the entire Bible.
i) The Lamb Prophesied – Abraham declares an early version of John 1:29, “God will provide himself a lamb” Gen 22:8
ii) The Lamb Typified – In the Passover, to a people that needed to be set free from bondage and slavery, “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house” Ex 12:3
iii) The Lamb Personified – “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Is 53:3-5
iv) The Lamb Identified – “Behold the Lamb of God” Jn 1:29.
v) The Lamb Crucified – Acts 8:32,35
vi) The Lamb Glorified – “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” Rev 5:6
So, if this is the central theme of scripture, surely we must adopt the attitude of John the Baptist.
II. THE PICTURE OF THE LAMB
“Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” 1 Cor 5:7
i) A Bloody Sacrifice
1. Blood Shed – Ex 12:22
2. Blood Applied – Ex 12:7
3. Blood Accepted – Ex 12:13
ii) A Blessed Saviour
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands…And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev 7:9,13-14
iii) A Burning Sovereign
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Rev 6:15-17
III. THE PROMISE OF THE LAMB
While what he is saying it, he is here, there is an imperative in it. Behold him! It commands attention.
i) Divine Promise – “Lamb of God” i.e. God has provided the and therefore the promise that’s bound up in the Lamb.
ii) Distinct Promise – “taketh away the sin of the world” i.e. It is a distinct promise to deal with sin.
Close – I think I detect an anxiousness about this statement of introduction. John feels strongly about making sure men and women are introduced to the Saviour. Surely he would have believed what he believed, even if he believed it alone, but there was also a yearning to see others believe.
And I feel the same. Whatever is the sin in your heart, the answer to the deepest, darkest sins is the Lamb of God. Behold him sinner! Look on Him. Believe in Him. Rest in Him. Trust in Him!