“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” vs. 29
In John’s gospel John the Baptist was the first witness and was sent to bear testimony to the Word who had become flesh in Jesus. Accordingly, when he saw Jesus in the neighborhood after his baptism, he declared him to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. That seems a strange designation for the one who the gospel writer later calls the good shepherd, but it’s been a precious metaphor for believers, one that has had a prominent place in worship for centuries. In the Jewish sacrificial system, the lamb, symbolizing innocence and purity, was the most common sacrifice and the shedding of its blood was early on linked to the forgiveness of sin. It’s no surprise then that the early Christians, looking to make sense of Jesus’ innocent suffering and death, began using the language of sacrifice to describe what had happened. During Jesus’ ministry he had regularly forgiven the sins of the broken as he encountered them on the journey. What had happened for individuals during his lifetime was now extended to the whole world through his death. Jesus was the Lamb of God and his death was inextricably linked to forgiveness and became part of the core gospel message. It’s important to make one distinction though! Our sins are forgiven not because Jesus died, but because he loved us so completely!
Thought for the Day: For whom would I give my life?