Lamb of God

Scott Hoezee

Read: John 1:29-34

Behold, the Lamb of God! (v. 29)

Given how famous it is now, it might surprise you to learn that the phrase “the Lamb of God” appears in the Bible only in John 1. Prophets like Isaiah associated a lamb with the coming Messiah. The book of Revelation shows us a slain lamb on a throne. But the exact phrase “Lamb of God” is unique to John the Baptist.

Maybe he coined this phrase. But if it had never before been heard, what do you suppose the original hearers made of it? Did it sound like a compliment or a curse? After all, lambs and sheep are not known to be very intelligent. In Israel, lambs were also slaughtered for sacrifice. So did calling Jesus a lamb sound like calling someone today a “dumb bunny,” somebody who seems a little clueless? Or given the sacrifice connection, did it sound like declaring Jesus to be a “dead man walking”? Maybe it was both: Jesus was both innocent and doomed. But Jesus was the Lamb of God. And he would take away the sin of the world. That is what God’s Lamb—and only God’s Lamb—can do.

This month we have thought about many things in connection to the advent or coming of Jesus into our world. But as we conclude, it’s fitting to end with the dearest truth of them all: Jesus is the Lamb of God. And he really did take away the sin of the world. Thanks be to God! —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: O Lamb of God, take away also my sin that I may live with you forever. Amen.