Behold the Lamb of God!
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!…
Who is this Lamb? Are you acquainted with Him? Christmas is one of the best time of the year to become familiar with the Lamb of God because His birthday is celebrated during this season. Before the birth of the Lamb, God ensured that the stage was set to introduce Him along with His mission to the world.
Zacharias was a devoted priest of God in the land of Judah. He and his wife were faithful to God, but they could not have a child. Finally, an angel of the Lord told Zacharias that his wife would conceive and give birth to a child, and they should call his name John. The angel also said that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from in the womb of his mother. (St Luke 1)
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1: 16-17)
The assignments of John were exact. His missions were to encourage the people to repent of their sins so that they turned to God in obedience. He would also prepare the way of the Lord. To accomplish these great tasks, the Lord endued him with His Holy Spirit even before the Spirit descended upon the earth on the day of Pentecost. The Lord also gave John the spirit and power of Elijah.
When John began his ministry, he preached to the people to repent of their sins. Many people thought that he was the reincarnation of Elijah, but he was not. He told the people that he was not Christ nor Elijah neither was he a prophet. His purpose was to make straight the way of the Lord.
After the people had repented, John baptized them with water, but he declared that someone else who was greater than him, whose sandals he was not worthy to untie, would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. (John 1:19-35)
Therefore, the following day when John saw Christ walking towards him, he announced His presence to the people whom he was baptizing. He proclaimed,
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes way the sin of the world!”
John further confirmed to the people that Christ was the person who was coming after him who was more powerful because He existed before the foundation of the earth.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was at the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5)
John declared that Christ would take away the sin of the world. Although the word sin is singular, it does not mean that Christ took away one single sin, disobedience, from the world. But, the sin in the above verse is wide and to get a clear understanding, we need to return to the beginning. After the fall of Adam and Eve, the Lord punished them, but He cursed the serpent.
And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the Lord God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3: 13-15)
The Lord specifically cursed the serpent (Satan) first because he brought sin into the world. Then the Lord shunned him to the dust to eat dirt. He was more debased than all the other animals.
Due to sin, the earth became cursed also, but the Lord showed mercy by prophesying that the Seed of the woman (God’s Son) would make restitution for the sin of the world (bruise the serpent’s head).
Then to Adam, He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil, you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3: 17-19)
The Lord cursed the ground because of Adam’s disobedience. Immediately thorns and thistles sprouted upon the land instead of the healthy fruit trees that usually grew naturally. Do you notice that you do not have to plant thorns, thistles, and weeds because they grow effortlessly?
The Lord informed Adam that he would have to till the ground by the sweat of his brow to plant food for his sustenance. He will continue to work until he dies and return to the dust.
The dust that created man was perfect and blessed but after sin it became cursed. However, this curse was lifted when Christ, the Son of God was born. The birth of Christ fulfilled the prophetic word of God that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head.
God ordained John to make the path straight for the coming of the Lord and proclaimed His presence. He fulfilled this task when he announced Him to the world.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man, who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel. Therefore, I came baptizing with water.” (John 1: 29-31)
In his declaration, John proclaimed to the world that Christ was the promised Son of God who would take away the curse of the earth or the world. The word sin refers to the curse.
If you continue to live in your sins, you will fall under the works of the law and the curse of the earth.
Hence, through the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, the curse was lifted from the world. Christ death made atonement for all of our sins. He died to save you and me from the sins that we acquired as a result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve.
He was given the name Jesus because He would save the people from their sins. The death of Christ is the final sacrifice for the sins of humanity to make atonement for all our sins. In the Old Testament, the priests usually sacrifice animals for the atonement of the sins of the people, but Christ’s death is once for the remission of our sins.
When Christ died, all our sins died with Him and when He rose we also rise with Him to a new life. This new life we can receive and enjoy when we repent of our sins, believe and accept Christ as our personal Savior.
The Lord is omnipotent, and so His sacrifice gives each of us a new life. Hence, we can each have a unique fellowship with Him. This personal and intimate relationship with God is special, and we should not allow anyone or anything to deny us of this privilege.
When we accept Christ as our Savior and walk in obedience to His words, we will receive blessings from the earth instead of the curse of thorns and thistles. After death, our body will not return to a cursed earth but to a blessed earth and our souls will, of course, abide in the presence of God until Christ second coming to earth.
The lesson for us right now is that God is calling each of us to prepare the way for His return. We can do this by repentance, baptism by water and the Holy Spirit, obedience to God, living a holy life on earth so that others will want to pattern our examples, and spreading the gospel to all the world.
We have a significant assignment from the Lord that we need to obey until He returns. While we are alive on earth, we can announce His presence in our lives not only as the Lamb of God but as our King of kings.
Additional references: Matthew 1: 21; Matthew 9: 6; Psalms 79:9; Matthew 26:28; Luke 3:3; Luke 5:24; Romans 11: 25-27;
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