John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
Some things are so obvious, that often we forget to explain them. But without explanation some things that we take for granted are not so obvious. A stop sign is obvious, yet is teaching driver training they donít take it for granted, but explain what it means.
So today we shall examine "the Lamb of God" to see why it is important, and what it means among us. The place we most often meet the phrase, Lamb of God, is during the communion service, when we sing, "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us." We sing this to remind us what it is the Christ offers and gives to us in the Lordís Supper, for it is indeed the true body and blood of Jesus Christ given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins. We sing this as a affirmation of faith. We sing this to the praise of God. We sing this as a sign of the hope that is in us, that in Christ, God will have mercy upon us and forgive us our sins, so that we can have peace with God and life everlasting.
But this as it is, is the end of the story. A story that begins when man falls into sin, and God in his mercy promises that he will send a savior to redeem us from sin, from death, and the power of the devil. The promise is first given to Adam and Eve, but the first picture of the lamb as the acceptable sacrifice, well we see that in the offering of Abel. Abel was a shepherd, and he offered a lamb of his flock to the Lord, in thanks for all Godís blessings. You might say that this was the first church service, and that this first worship service was complete with an offering, a lamb from the flock, and God accepted Abelís offering. We still worship God, but we donít offer lambs any more, we pass the plate, and we return thanks to God by returning to God a portion of the blessing with which he has blessed us. You see, we know that Jesus, the lamb of God, was offered for us, and suffered and died for our sins, that we might be forgiven. Jesus was one sacrifice which was good for the sins of all people and all times, that all might be forgiven and have peace with God.
And if in the history of Godís plan of salvation, a lamb for an offering was important, then the story of Abraham and Isaac is important. Isaac was Abrahamís only son, and God told Abraham to take his son and offer him as a sacrifice to the Lord, and so Abraham set out with his son Isaac, and they got to the place, built the altar, and then Abraham bound Isaac and prepared to sacrifice the thing he love most, and God told Abraham to stop, he had seen that Abraham would give up everything, even his only son, if that is what God asked, and Abraham looked and in a thicket was a lamb, caught by its horns, and the words he had spoken to his son,Gen 22:8 "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.". came to pass.
Israel was in Egypt, and suffered hard bondage, and God sent Moses to set the people free, and again it was a lamb, the lamb of the Passover, that protected them from the destroying angel. One sacrifice for many, and so we see the lamb of God who protects, and who sets the people free.
It was hard for people to understand that God would send his son, he was even harder to understand that the Son of God, might not come in pomp and glory and splendor, and so God through Isaiah taught of the coming Savior:Isa 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
And so it is that when we hear the phrase, the Lamb of God, we remember:1Cor 5:7 For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1Pet 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
This is the blood that takes away our sins, and gives us peace with God. This is the salvation of God which has come to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. It is right that we give him worship and praise, for the lamb who was slain for us, is true God and true man, and deserve our worship and praise, for all he has done for us, just as God has promised since the beginning, and so it is in Jesus Christ.
Rev. 5:12-13"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" .....: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"