LAMB OF GOD
When John the Baptist “saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’” (Jn 1:29). The expression “Lamb of God” had diverse implications for John the Baptist and his listeners:
1) The “Lamb of God” means a lamb God provided. When Abraham was going with his son Isaac for sacrifice at Mount Moriah, Isaac asked “‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son’” (Gen 22:7-8). God gave a ram (Gen 22:13) to substitute the sacrifice of Isaac. God gave the lamb that Abraham predicted at the same mountain when God gave His only begotten son (Jn 3:16), Jesus, as the lamb of sacrifice.
2) It could mean the paschal lamb, whose blood saved Israel at the time of the exodus from Egypt (Ex 12:1-13). The pascal lamb without blemish stood for Jesus the sinless God. The blood of the lamb at the door posts stood for the blood of Jesus posted on the cross. The sacrifice of the innocent lamb for the deliverance from slavery stood for the innocent Jesus who delivered sinful humanity from the bondage of sin or Satan.
3) Jesus represented the sacrificial lamb in the Temple of Jerusalem. The priests in Temple sacrificed a lamb every morning and evening as reparation for the people’s sins (Ex 29:38-42). They sacrificed more lambs and other animals during the Passover. However, these animal sacrifices could not take away the original sin. They foreshadowed the sacrifice of the true Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
4) Prophets Jeremiah and Isiah predicted a suffering servant led like a lamb to be slaughtered as a sin-offering (Jer 11:19). “Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter” (Isa 53:7).
5) Instead of a suffering lamb, at the end we will see a victorious apocalyptic lamb who would destroy evil in the world (Rev 5–7). John the Evangelist saw “a Lamb that seemed to have been slain. He had seven horns and seven eyes; these are the [seven] spirits of God sent out into the whole world” (Rev 5:6). “They will fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and king of kings, and those with him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Rev 17:14).
Though Jesus voluntarily surrendered as a sacrificial lamb for the remission of our sins, he is a victorious lamb. He rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, seated at the right hand of his Father, and he will return in royal glory to judge the nations. He wants us to gain the crown by taking up the cross for the mission he has entrusted to us.