Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jesus, the Lamb of God

The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him. John said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I was talking about when I said, ‘A Man will come after me, but He is greater than I am, because He was living before me.’ Even I did not know who He was, although I came baptizing with water so that the people of Israel would know who He is.” Then John said, “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven in the form of a dove and rest on Him. Until then I did not know who the Christ was. But the God who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down and rest on a Man; He is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen this happen, and I tell you the truth: This Man is the Son of God.” John 1:29-34 (NCV)

The Apostle John records another great fact about Jesus:  Jesus is not only the “Son of God” (John 1:34) but Jesus is also the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 35-36). As the “Lamb of God” Jesus provides salvation for whoever believes and trusts in Him (John 1:12, 29). Jesus not only takes away the sin of the world but also our personal penalty for sin, evil, and death. God’s commitment to His people in the new covenant is possible only through Jesus’ death as the Lamb of God (see Jeremiah 31:34). Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7; see also Exodus 12:13) that cleanses or purifies us of sins and wickedness (Revelation 7:9-10, 14). God sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ as a substitutionary atonement for our sins on the Cross (see Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2).

The Passover celebrates Israel’s salvation by God from Egyptian slavery and God’s covenant love for His people. As Israel was being saved from Egypt, the blood of a lamb was sprinkled over the doorposts of each Jewish home in Egypt and rescued those inside from death (Exodus 12). Jesus used His final Passover meal (also called the Last Supper) to prove that His sacrificial death on the Cross would give new meaning to the Passover celebration (Mark 14:17-31). The Cross of Calvary became the final sacrificial altar where Jesus as the perfect Lamb of God was crucified for the sin of the world. Just as the Passover lamb in Egypt saved the Jewish families in Egypt, so too, Jesus’ death as the final Lamb of God serves to bring salvation and God’s new covenant of love to all people (Jews and Gentiles). With His death on the Cross, Jesus fulfilled the true meaning of the Jewish sacrifice of the Passover lamb. In fact, Jesus was crucified on Passover day.

In one sense, the message of the Holy Bible can be summarized in Jesus’ title as the sacrificial “Lamb of God”. The sacrificial lamb was discussed at several places in Holy Bible including Genesis 22:7-8 with Abraham and Isaac; the Passover in Egypt (Exodus 12:3-6); the Suffering Servant predicted by the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53:4-8); in the four Gospels; the Apostle Paul’s reference at 1 Corinthians 5:7; and victorious Lamb of Revelation 5:6-14. Particularly in the book of Revelation, the Apostle John repeatedly calls Jesus Christ the Lamb. The book of Revelations uses the word “Lamb” to describe Jesus as our Redeemer, Military Conqueror, and King to finally defeat and destroy all evil and sin at work in the world (e.g. see, Revelation 7:17; Revelation 17:14).

The people of the Bible were familiar with lambs for the sacrifices of sins (see Exodus 29:38-46; see also Hebrews 10). But these Old Testament sacrifices were only temporary and could not take away sins permanently. In other words, these sacrifices were types (foreshadowing) of Jesus’ final and only effective sacrifice. The Apostle John wrote his Gospel to proclaim to the world that Jesus is the final Lamb that shed His blood to permanently take away the sins of the whole world! Jesus takes away our sin by absorbing sin into His perfect God body.

In summary, Jesus Christ is God (Yahweh and the Second Person of the Trinity) in human flesh (John 1:1-5, 14, 34) and the Light of the world (Isaiah 9:2; John 1:4-5). The Holy Bible encourages everyone to faithfully stand firm with Jesus Christ and give our allegiance, love, and trust to Him (Revelation 14:12). Jesus Christ became the sacrificial Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world (John 1:14, 29, 34-35 see also Isaiah 53:7; Luke 12:50; 1 Corinthians 5:7). On the Cross at Calvary, Jesus paid the final price for our personal sins and the sins of the world by His sacrificial and unselfish death on the Cross. Faith in Jesus’ sacrificial death saves us and forgives our personal sins (see Romans 3 and Romans 5).  Jesus Christ gives everyone His free gift of sin removal through wholehearted acceptance, faith, and belief in Him as God and Savior of the world (John 1:1, 12, 14; John 3:16). Even more, Jesus Christ also gives us His Holy Spirit (John 1:33) as He baptizes His wholehearted followers with the Holy Spirit (see also Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16).  Finally, Jesus Christ declares us righteous, holy, and children of God through faith in His work as the final Lamb of God (see Romans 3:21-5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7). All those who have been faithful to Jesus Christ throughout the ages will stand before His throne in heaven (Revelation 7:17; Revelation 22:1, 3).

But you were saved (redeemed, ransomed) from that useless life. You were bought, not with something that ruins like gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, who was like a pure and perfect Lamb. 1 Peter 1:18-19 (NCV) 

Life Application Study Bible. Carol Streams, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2005.
NLT Study Bible. Carol Streams, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2008.
Zondervan NIV Study Bible. New York: Zondervan, 2008.
Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Second Edition. Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House Company, 2001.
Wiersbe, Warren W. Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament. Victor Books, 2001. 

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