John 1:29, ”The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
John the Baptizer’s Witness to Jesus is very important. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 11:13, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That means that beginning with John something new was happening. The prophets and the law were being fulfilled in Jesus and John serves as the bridge that connects prophetic forthtelling with prophetic fulfillment. (I will use forthtell instead of foretell because the heart of prophecy is not in the prediction of future events but instead in the Divine interpretation of human history.)
The Gospel According to John does not include the Baptism event, when John actually plunged Jesus into the Jordan River, but it does record John’s public vocal witness to who Jesus is. John tells all who will hear, including all today who read of his witness in the Gospel accounts, that Jesus is “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Before we consider this beautiful and marvelous statement together I would like to tell you some Good News. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. God wants to bless you with His presence and satisfy all your desires. God wants to give you a sense of fulfillment and cause all your wildest dreams to come true in ways that right now you can’t even imagine. Sadly, the Bible tells us we have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory. You know that’s true of you and you don’t need me to tell you.
The Bible teaches that our sin separates us from God. But the Good News is that Jesus has removed our sin as far as the east is from the west. Jesus is God, the Son of God to be precise, and He came in the flesh and died on the cross for our sins, and rose again on the third day for our justification, and ascended up to Heaven to His Father’s right hand and has been granted the gift of the Holy Spirit. He freely gives salvation to all who will call upon His name. If you will call upon the name of Jesus Christ, if in simple faith you will confess to God that you are a sinner and ask Jesus to save you, then Jesus will come to live inside of you and you will be saved.
This salvation is available to all persons without distinction (He taketh away the sin of the world) because Jesus is who John said He was. Jesus is “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” What was John getting at with that title? I believe that John was tying together the whole of the Old Testament message of the coming Salvation of God into one beautiful statement about Jesus. Let’s think about four important Old Testament Scripture passages.
In Genesis 3:15 God told the Devil that He would “put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman (Eve), and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This is the first passage in Scripture forthelling the coming Salvation of God when the Seed of the Woman would come and crush the head of the Devil. Now after saying this, God sacrificed an animal and made coats of skins for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness. Jesus is the sacrifice that crushes the head of the Devil and provides a covering for us that takes away our sins.
In Genesis 22 God tempts Abraham and calls on him to sacrifice Isaac his only son. The whole story is forthelling how God would one day sacrifice His only Son on the side of a mountain. When Abraham and Isaac are on their way up the mountain Isaac asks his Dad where the animal is for the sacrifice and Abraham replies: “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” After God stops Abraham’s hand and provides a sacrifice the Bible says, “Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh (God provides): as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.” Jesus is the Lamb that God provides for sacrifice on the mountain for all to see.
In Exodus 12 God tells His people that He is going to exercise His wrath on Egypt. He says He will “pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.” The Israelites would be delivered from the awful slaughter if they would put the blood of a sacrificed lamb on their door posts. God said, “the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” Jesus is the sacrificed Lamb whose blood causes God to pass over us.
In Isaiah 53 the prophet foretells a coming “suffering servant” who will deliver God’s people. Speaking of the servant Isaiah says “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. He was take from prison and form judgment: and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken.” Jesus is the Lamb of God who was cut off for the transgression of God’s people.
So when John the Baptizer says that Jesus is the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,” he is invoking all of these texts (and more) plainly saying that Jesus is the Savior who was forthtold over and over again in the Old Testament Scriptures.
The question for us today is if we will receive the witness or not. If we will receive it, if we will admit that we need a Savior and confess that Jesus is our Savior, we will be saved. We can rejoice together today and live in the Victory of God because Jesus truly is the Lamb of God that takes our sin away and allows us to have a relationship with God free of condemnation or judgment. We can boldly say, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”