The Lamb in the Manger

The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

(John 1:29, ESV)

When I think of Jesus being born in a manger in the little town of Bethlehem, my imaginary scene usually has a couple of lambs softly bleating in the background. Of course, we’re not sure any animals were present, but my olive wood nativity set from Bethlehem has a few sheep so I’m sure they were there! However, we know there was truly a lamb present in that manger—in the very person of the baby Jesus.

A small, gentle lamb is not usually the chosen animal to picture someone who would change the world—maybe a powerful lion or an aggressive bear—surely not a lamb. But John the Baptist, seeing Jesus, declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

For the prophet John, a lamb described perfectly the role of Christ as Savior. Christ as the sacrificial lamb was in keeping with so many Old Testament types and prophecies with which he would have been familiar.

So John announced publicly and triumphantly Jesus Christ would “take away the sin of the world.” He would take away John’s sin, He would take away the sin of many in Israel, He would take away your sin and my sin, and in fact He would take away the sin of all who place their faith in the finished work of Christ.

In Revelation, the Lamb of God who gave His life on the cross is also the Lamb before the throne. This Lamb becomes the focus of all worship as He is recognized as King and Lord of the whole world.

This Christmas, may the Lamb of God in the manger be the focus of your attention.  May the Lamb on the throne in Heaven be the object of all your adoration.