26 John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ 28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
It was the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, who foretold “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord” (Mark 1:3). Now in today’s text we see the long awaited, John the Baptist, preparing the way of the Lord: “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
But why would John refer to a man as a lamb? For John’s listeners the mention of a lamb, God’s lamb, would have immediately brought to mind the many lambs in the Old Testament, beginning with the Passover Lamb. The people then were commanded to take a lamb “without blemish,” slaughter it, and spread its blood on the doorposts of their houses. The blood of the lamb would be a sign for the angel of death that they belonged to God and the angel would pass over their house and they would be freed from the bondage of Egypt (Exodus 12).
Also, with the mention of a lamb, John’s listeners would have thought of the prophecy of Isaiah about the Lord’s Suffering Servant who would lay down his life for us, and be “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).
They would as well thought of the morning and evening sacrifices they saw each day in the temple as a lamb was offered for sacrifice. All of these many thoughts must have come to John’s listeners when introduced to Jesus: “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Here then is God’s perfect Lamb, “without spot or blemish” (I Peter 1:19), “our Passover Lamb” (I Corinthians 5:7), who suffers judgment for us and takes away the sin of the world. Let your heart be at peace!
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Today’s Andy Moments…