Monday, February 22, 2016

The Lamb of God

In the John the Baptist narrative, there is that moment when the Baptizer sees Jesus and declares, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."  (John 1:28)  There is a sense in which that particular moment was one John had been waiting for all his life.  He and Jesus were connected through their births and through a Word spoken by the prophet Isaiah who spoke of a "voice (who) cries out:  In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord..." (Isaiah 40:3)  John the Baptizer was the voice and the one who was to usher on to the stage of human history the One about whom Isaiah described by saying, "He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter..."  (Isaiah 53:7)  There at the Jordan River, God brought His plan into the open.  Though known by many names, this Jesus baptized by John is surely "the Lamb of God."
Most of us know little about lambs.  We read about them more in the Scripture than most of us see them.  When we think about a lamb, we think of a small gentle creature who moves about slowly grazing.  A neighbor down the road has a small flock of sheep and every time I see them, I think it is a wonderful pastoral scene.  But, the truth is each lamb is born to either be sheared or slaughtered.  And, even after a lifetime of shearing, the slaughtering still comes.  Had any of us been writing the story, we likely would have used some animal image other than a lamb to depict the Savior of the world.
Yet, it was God's choice.  While it can be said of all of us that we are born to die, it can even more be said of Jesus.  From the very beginning, He was spoken of as One who would save His people from their sin.  The men from the East brought expensive gifts some of which could be used to prepare the dead for burial.  When John called Jesus, "the Lamb of God" any doubt about what was ahead was taken away.  Jesus would save His people from their sins by being God's chosen sacrifice for those sins.  Those sins are yours and mine.

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