“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
(John 1:29, NIV)
There is a Kodak moment with first-time pilgrims in Israel. On the journey north from Tel Aviv to Tiberius, fresh off a long international flight, bleary-eyed tourists press their noses against the bus window for a glimpse of the region where Jesus walked. Upon first gaze of the Sea of Galilee, someone inevitably says through teary eyes: “He was here!”
If you have been to the land, you likely remember that moment. It’s priceless.
Introductory moments are powerful. John’s Gospel opens by informing the reader that Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1–18). He eloquently invites us to pause at this mystery: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (1:14). Following this thesis, we listen to the words of John the Baptist who states that he came to testify concerning Jesus. Smelling of camel clothes and honey-dipped locust, the prophet says: “He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (1:27).
And then it happens. The Baptizer makes THE proclamation. “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (1:29).
Reflect on this argument a bit.
• Jesus is God.
• Eternity stepped into time as a human.
• He came to this world to function as a sacrificial Lamb.
The Jewish imagery of Jesus as a “Lamb” is unmistakable. In one descriptive picture, John describes the Lamb’s purpose and clears the confusion about the first lap of the Messiah: He is God, in human flesh, who came as a sacrifice for sin.
Go ahead. Marvel at the Incarnation—our fancy-dan Latin word that reminds us that God became flesh. But don’t you dare miss the purpose of this Incarnation.
Press your nose up against the bus of life as you pass by yet another Christmas season. The babe in a manger came to pay the price for sin. He was here. And He did what no one else could do.
Say it: “Behold the Lamb!”