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The Lamb of God

John 1:29 (ESV) – The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

John the Baptist existed to pave the way for the Messiah. John was the predicted coming of Elijah at the end of the Old Testament. His role was to ready the hearts of God’s people to receive God’s redeemer of men. Jesus was the Messiah Israel waited so long for. He came without fanfare or parades. There weren’t any news releases or throngs of people waiting outside the place Mary delivered Him. Yet when the time came for Jesus to initiate His work of redemption, John the Baptist arrived on the scene to blow the trumpet. 

We see this in our passage today. John stood in the wilderness preaching about the kingdom of God. He baptized individuals to cleanse them of sin and ready them for the Savior. And one day he looked up and Jesus was walking toward him. We read in John’s Gospel what John the Baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Why does John the Baptist call Jesus “the Lamb of God”? The lambs were the object of sacrifice in the Temple sacrificial system. Lambs without blemish were the substitute for sinners. Their blood was shed and life taken in order to divert God’s wrath off of sinners and onto the lamb. The lamb took the wrath so the people did not have to. This sacrificial system stood as a pointer. It was a shadow of the substance. It looked forward to the day when a once and for all sacrifice would arrive. The Lamb of God would die and complete the work of redemption for God’s people. This is what John is announcing when he calls Jesus “the Lamb of God.”

How would Jesus be the Lamb of God? He would take away the sins of people from every tribe, nation, and tongue. Jesus’ death on the cross served to pay for real sins, committed by real people. His death absorbed and satisfied the wrath of God. This allows for all who place their faith in Him to find forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. The Lamb of God saves sinners who look to Him.

Have you looked upon Christ as your Redeemer?

Have you recognized your sinfulness and need for a substitute?
Jesus is the Lamb provided for you.
He is the only substitute
that came to give salvation.
There is no one else to turn to.
It is Jesus or nobody.
He alone can save.

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No other person in Heaven or on Earth can substitute for our sins except for the Lamb without blemish. Praise Him today if you belong to Him. Give thanks for the blood shed by the Lamb in your place.

Reflection & Journal:
- Why does John the Baptist call Jesus “the Lamb of God”? 
- What is the reason we need a substitute? Why can’t we pay for our sins in some other way?
- How should an individual who has received forgiveness in Christ live in light of that gift?

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