In one sentence we have the essence of the Christian message……“Behold the Lamb of God” What do you think of when you here that statement in the scriptures?
- I think of pain and suffering
- I think of sin
- I think of the gospel
- I think of what an amazing Saviour
- I think of grace
- I think of the joy it brings
- I think of the humility of Jesus
I’m reminded of that hymn…….
“There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins
And sinner plunged beneath that flood
Lose all there guilty stains”
Isa 53:6-7 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” As Kent Hughes said “Christianity is a bloody religion” But through that blood there is grace, mercy and forgiveness. Let’s read the text! [v29-v34]. John has been crying out as a voice in the wilderness, a testimony that has reached the ears of the Religious Leaders [The Sandhedrin were the main governing body of the Jewish nation. They were controlled by the family of the High Priest.]
John has just finished answering the questions by the religious leader….
- Who are you?
- What then are you Elijah?
- Are you a Prophet?
- Why do you baptize then?
He gave them his answer! "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness...". I baptize you with repentance..." There is One coming who none of us are worthy to tie his shoes!! There is One coming who will be the greatest sacrifice for all of mankind. The Bible says the next day all these things that he was proclaiming came true. (v29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” The Lamb of God is here…..the Lamb that would be slain for the whole world
Our Savior our Lamb's Supper. There are 2 important truths or promises for us to understand this morning!
1. THE LAMB WHO CAME TO BE SACRIFICE FOR SINNERS
The Pure and undefiled Word came to be my sin Sacrifice, your sin Sacrifice! "The Lamb of God". All through Israel’s history God had revealed clearly that son and separation from Him could be removed ONLY by blood sacrifice. There was NO forgiveness of sin granted by God apart from an acceptable substitute dying as a sacrifice. This statement must have pierced the conscience of every Jew….because they naturally associated a lamb with there history. Why? Because a Lamb signifies......A required sacrifice.....A burnt offering for sin of the people
The Lamb sacrifice for Abraham and Isaac
Gen 22:11-16 “But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram (which is a male sheep) caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided." Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son”
The Passover Lamb, for the nation of Israel
Exo 12:5-14 “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover. 'For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike 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. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 'So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.”
The Jewish required a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness for sin
Lev 5:5-7 'And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing; and he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin. 'If he is not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring to the LORD, for his trespass which he has committed, two turtledoves or two young pigeons: one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering.”
A Lamb that would be lead to the Slaughter
Isaiah 53:5-7 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”
The nation wanted a King, a Conqueror…but all that was sent was a Lamb. But not just any Lamb…….a Lamb that would deal with sin once and for all. As the Hebrew writer said “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'" When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), then he added, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Heb 10:4-10
He takes away the first which is the animal sacrifice and the Second being the atoning work of Christ. Our perfect sacrifice for sin. See the sacrifice of animals was a temporary requirement, did not mean you became sinless. It was only to be done until the Perfect Lamb Sacrifice came to pay God's required debt once for all nothing but the blood of Jesus. John the Baptist used this expression as a reference to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, to atone for the sins of this created man and woman. As we read in Rev 5:11-14 “……I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!" Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.”
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us! “For the World” means “All humanity in general, reaches all human beings without distinction (national, racial, and ethnic boundaries)” 1 John 2:2 “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”
- For me rebellious and hostile lifestyle towards a holy God
- For my unregenerate family and friends
- For Hitler/ Stalin/ Osama
- For murder/rapist/ adulterer/the disobedient child
- For the man who killed thousands a baby each year
- For you and your wicked rebellion
His grace is sufficient for everyone but it only benefits those who are His. For the every sinful act I’ve done or will be committed! The Lamb [Jesus] came be a willing sacrifice for all of them.
- That’s grace!
- That’s a love that surpasses any human understanding!
- That’s the gospel truth
2. THE LAMB WHO CAME TO PROVIDE FORGIVENESS FOR ALL
The Lamb came to deal with the Sin issue, to provide forgiveness for wicked and rebellious created children. [you and me]. This does not mean universal salvation for the whole world as some would proclaim these days.
He came as a Lamb to provide forgiveness for the lost! “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
Paul said He offers forgiveness through His blood on the cross! In Eph 1:7 Paul said “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”
This is the Lamb of God, who is always ready to forgive a sinner! In Ps 86:5 “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”His forgiveness is for those who trust in His Son completely! Though He came to provide this forgiveness for all or that it is sufficient for all it only benefits the elect. Unfortunately scripture says He would be rejected by many ".... 'THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE.” Mark 12:10. As we've already seen here in John's opening remarks to his gospel! “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” John 1:10-11. Dear Stephen said to the religious leaders "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,.” Acts 7:51-52. And sadly the end result is eternal suffering “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” 2 Thess 1:8-9.
In [v29-v30] "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.'
- Why do we believe this statement?
- Why is He our Perfect sacrifice for sin?
- Why is He the only One who can forgive?
By what we see in the next few verses! The Sprit descending from Heaven…this is the promise or conformation that this is the true Messiah. [v33-v34] “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." How did John know ahead of time that Jesus was the One? In Luke’s account we read “And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased." Luke 3:22
- My Beloved Son
- My Only Begotten Son
- My Lamb of God
- My Perfect Sacrifice
- My Son of Man who comes to be a ransom for all! But received by few!
As the late great John Calvin said "Since no man is excluded from calling upon God the gate of salvation is open to all. There is nothing else to hinder us from entering, but our own unbelief."
"In his book “Written In Blood” Robert Coleman tells the story of a little boy whose sister needed a blood transfusion. She had a rare blood type which she shared with her little brother. The fact that he had recovered from the same disease two years earlier made the chances of success even greater. The doctor carefully explained all this to the little boy, pointing out that without the transfusion his sister would die." Would you be brave and give your blood to your sister?" the doctor asked. Johnny hesitated. His lower lip began to tremble. Then he smiled and said, "Sure, for my sister."
The two children were wheeled into the hospital room - Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and healthy. He smiled at his sister, the watched as the blood traveled out of his body, down the clear plastic tube. Johnny's smile faded, and as he lay there feeling weak he looked up at the doctor and said, "Doctor, when do I die?' Johnny thought that giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his life. Yet because of his great love for her he was prepared to pay the price."
That’s sacrificially grace for one another…but the ultimate sacrifice is found in the only begotten Son of God “the precious Lamb of God” all because we need a sacrifice for our rebellious lives.
- Sin affects the very heart of every individual in this world
- Sin affected the Nation, the prophets down to the apostles and church
- Sin makes us incapable of changing the future or the present or repaying for the past.
We desperately need a lamb sacrifice! This is what John was proclaiming “Behold the Lamb of God” who came to save sinners from spiritual death [separation]. This is why He came "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost". As Jesus said to the disciples when He told the story of the prodigal son“....... I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10. And it’s only possible through the precious, spotless, perfect Lamb of God!