CALLING ATTENTION TO JESUS
In our text John the Baptist called attention to Jesus. He did so by saying "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." I want to emphasis 3 parts of John's announcement about Jesus.
He called attention to Jesus the Lamb of God.
He called attention to Jesus, the one who takes away sin, and
He called attention to Jesus, the Savior of the world. Please follow
as these thoughts are developed.
I. CALLING ATTENTION TO JESUS:
"Behold the Lamb of God" v 29 b.
Some less conservative theologians say there is no way that John cold have said this about Jesus. They say it is too early for him to have this advanced theology. But they forget John was a prophet of God. (Godet says he is the greatest of the prophets.) Just like Samuel could announce that Saul was the one chosen to be king, John calls attention to Jesus as the Lamb of God.
John was familiar with the book of Isaiah and quotes it in verse 23 of this chapter. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus and said, "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth." Is. 53:7. John's statement about Jesus is founded in this word of Isaiah. I mention this controversy only to equip you to answer criticism. I believe John said these words and I like the statement of A. T. Robertson on this matter ". . . was it not possible for John, the forerunner of the Messiah, to have prophetic insight concerning the Messiah as the Paschal Lamb already in Isaiah 53, even if the rabbis did not see it there?"
How is Jesus the Lamb of God? He is the sacrificial lamb and the paschal lamb. The sacrificial lamb was offered each morning and evening in the Mosaic system. It was a sin offering. The priest had to make this sacrifice for the people. However the book of Hebrews says, "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come. He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood. He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls. . .sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ,. . ." (Heb. 9:11-14). Jesus, as the sacrificial lamb, offered His blood once and for all. His sacrifice cannot be repeated, nor does it need to be.
The Paschal lamb was the lamb offered at Passover. This practice began just before the Hebrew children left Egypt. You will recall that the last plague to hit the Egyptians was the death of the first born. However, God told His people to prepare a lamb and sprinkle the blood on the door post. When the angel of death came by a dwelling where the blood was put on the door post as God directed, the destroyer passed by that house. In like manner the blood of Jesus Christ applied by personal faith grants eternal life.
The Passover lamb was to slain at noon. Jesus was condemned at that hour. Hyssop was dipped in the blood of the lab and then painted on the door post. Jesus was offered a sponge full of sour wine upon a branch of hyssop. The Paschal lamb was to be prepared in such a way that no bone was to be broken. It was common practice to break the bones of those who were crucified. But they thrust a spear into Jesus and not one of His bones were broken. Is it any wonder that Paul says Christ is our Passover? (I Cor. 5:7).
Notice this is the Lamb of God. It is not man's lamb. It is not the Jewish lamb, but God's. Last week we looked briefly at the story of Abraham. He was commanded to sacrifice his own son on an altar. He believed God could raise Isaac from the dead; Isaac asked his father where the lamb was for the sacrifice and Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb . . ."(Gen. 12:8). John the Baptist now announces for Isaac and us, "Behold the Lamb of God."
Most of the religions of the world have their sacrifices. They hope these are acceptable to God. People kill animals and mutilate their own bodies in an attempt to please God. But God says it is impossible to please Him without faith. (Heb. 11:6). Jesus is the Lamb of God. He is God's sacrifice, He is the only sacrifice appointed by God. He is the only sacrifice approved by God. Our sin can only be forgiven through Jesus.
Let's make an illustration of this truth with our imaginations placed back in the time of Moses. Just suppose the word is given that a lamb is to be sacrificed and its blood placed on the lintel and door post. However, some find it easier to use a dog, cat or a horse. Now these folks say we are sincere and God is a loving God. They reason within themselves that God doesn't really mean what He says when He says a lamb. They make themselves God rather than following God's Word.
But they continue being led by Satan and they sprinkle the blood of a dog, cat or horse around their door. The death angel comes to the house across the street. The blood of the Lamb was sprinkled just like God said and death doesn't stop at their door. But death comes to their home and it recognizes it has the freedom to come in and destroy. Why? Because there was only one way to spare that first born. God's way! God' plan, not man's. Not just sincerity, but sincerely right.
Have you yielded your life to God's plan? Do you know you are trusting
in His sacrifice and not trying to make your own? Jesus is the Lamb of
God. Please notice the next phrase in the text.
II. CALLING ATTENTION TO JESUS:
THE ONE WHO TAKES AWAY SIN. "Takes away the sin" v 29c.
The Old Testament background is very helpful here. The sacrifice of a lamb was made every day for the sin of the people to be forgiven. The sacrifice took away the penalty of sin. When the blood from the lamb was sprinkled on the mercy seat, the cleansing took full effect. The people's sin was covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account. (Rom. 4:1, 8)
But the Old Testament gives us another helpful example of how sin is taken away through the sacrifice ordered by God. Once a year two goats were brought before the priest. Lots were cast and one goat was chosen for a burnt offering and the other became the scapegoat. The priest confessed the sins of the people as he laid his hands on the goat. It idea was a symbol of the sins being transferred to the goat. Then the goat was taken outside the camp. It was removed far away from the people. (Lev. 16:8-22). Jesus, the Lamb of God, in one act, did what it took lambs, goats, and bulls sacrificed regularly, to accomplish.
If you acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus in your life, you have your sins forgiven and taken away through His sacrifice. But you must commit as much as you know about yourself to as much as you know about Jesus. Total surrender to God's sacrifice rather than attempting to make your own.
Note that the word sin is singular and not plural. Jesus, as the Lamb of God takes away sin. This has reference to the root of man's problem. We many times, focus on the sins of mankind, but the sin is unbelief. Jesus' death first affects the sin of unbelief. If He becomes the Lamb who takes away my sin, I must believe. He does not take away sins until He has been acknowledged as Lord to take away sin. The Greek word for sin here is HAMARTIA. It is an archery term and means "missing the mark". The arrow would be sent toward the target but it would miss and they would holler out, "HAMARTIA". You missed the mark. All mankind has missed the mark, therefore, all need to be forgiven of sin.
In contrast, it is interesting to note Mt. 1:21, ". . .You shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." When we acknowledge Jesus as Lord, our sin of unbelief is forgiven, and we become part of His people. As His people, we can receive the forgiveness of sins.
In John 3:18, the sin of unbelief is clearly indicated as the root cause of judgment. It says, "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Belief or lack of belief causes or removes judgment. The Lamb of God takes away sin.
I read an interesting story of how hunters catch the ermine. As you know, it's fur is almost pure white and very popular for coats and trim for expensive clothing. The article indicated the ermine is very, very clean. The hunters find where their shelter is and place tar all around it.
The ermine hates dirt so much that it will risk death fighting with dogs rather than getting dirty from the tar. So the hunters place a net over the ermine and they have their catch. But if you want to help the ermine, you take the dirt and tar away and it will go into its shelter.
Jesus takes sin away and allows us to come unto His shelter. He removes sin by bearing it in His body on the cross. Have you recognized what Jesus did for you? Out of a heart full of gratitude we should thank Him and receive His Lordship in our life.
The final phrase of this verse has an emphasis we should recognize.
Please follow as it is developed.
III. CALLING ATTENTION TO JESUS:
WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN of the WORLD. v 29 d.
Jesus the Lamb of God, is not just a Jewish Messiah. He is Savior for the entire world. All the way back to Gen. 12:3, Abraham was promised his seed would bless all the families of the earth. The Jews failed to see this but it is a scarlet thread through the Scriptures. The Lamb of God is not for one nation, creed or color. He is for the world.
Colleges offer a course in comparative religions, But who compares with Jesus? Who else is the Lamb of God? No one! The whole world must come to Jesus/ They must be told about Jesus because there are not a dozen ways to heaven. There is one way, and it is God's way through His sacrificial Lamb.
The King of England went to visit a battlefield hospital during World War II. He was told that there were 136 patients in the hospital. He was shown 130, then it was suggested he leave. He said, "There are 6 more men." But he was told they were wounded too seriously for him to see.
He insisted on seeing the men and was shown 5 additional soldiers. Once
again they tried to escort the King out, but he said, "There's one more
man to see." They said, "O King, he is too grotesque for you to see." The
king insisted. He was shocked to see he mutilated body of the soldier;
when he gained his composure, he knelt by the bed of the young man and
said, "You were wounded for me and for England."
Jesus was slain for me and the world. He died for you and every other
person who lived. He is the Savior of the world. The world can only be
saved through Him.
Today we invite you to acknowledge the Lamb of God as your Lord and
receive His salvation. We will sing a hymn of decision. Come make your