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Lamb of God

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:39
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Studying the Gospel, the Good news about Jesus, as recorded for us by John. John was a disciple of Jesus, one of the three that were especially intimate with Jesus. He was called the beloved. Jesus loved him, and he loved Jesus.
John wrote his gospel to the believers in Ephesus, believers that we know from other portions of the bible as being doctrinally sound. That means, they knew the facts of what the Bible taught, and could teach others. However, they also lost their love for Jesus. And, when you lose your love for something or someone, well, life just isn’t the same.
John wrote his gospel to these believers, so that… well in his own words...
John 20:31 NIV
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
He wanted them to know the thrill of Jesus being the one that God promised to the world for so long. Jesus, who is God himself, and who is in closest relationship with God the Father. And that by believing in his name, those Ephesian believers would have life! The kind of thrilling life that God intends for his children.
It is my prayer that you and I will not just know the facts of what to believe, but that we will fall in love with Jesus, the promised one, God Himself, and the giver of REAL life!
Today we continue our study in John 1:29-34.
John opened his gospel with a loaded explanation of who Jesus is! He is the Word! The one behind all of Creation. The powerful Word of God that accomplishes, well, the impossible, creation of everything out of nothing just by speaking!! He was with God. He was God!
He explained that John the Baptist came as a witness, to testify concerning Jesus. That word for being a witness, or to testify is the word from which we get our word martyr. It is used 3 times in John 1:7-8, again in John 1:15. We saw it last week in John 1:19. Today, we are going to see it again in John 1:34. John knew his mission, his role and he lived it out, fully. Let’s read the passage for today.
John 1:29–34 NIV
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

"Look, the Lamb of God...”

John has a series of four days in chapters 1 & 2 of his gospel.
The first day, the leaders in Jerusalem sent priest and Levites to ask him who he was. But in answering their questions, John did not focus on himself, he focused on Jesus!
John let them know, I am not the Messiah. I am not Elijah. I am not the prophet. No, I simply baptize with water. Among you stands one you do not know. He is the amazing one. He is the one in comparison with i am not even the lowliest servant. I could not even untie the straps of his sandals! He is the One!
That brings us to the passage today. The next day, John saw Jesus, and made the declaration, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Why would John call Jesus the lamb of God? This was not a commonly used term for the One for whom the Jews were anxiously waiting. They typically called the One, the Messiah, the Anointed, or, the Prophet. So, why would John use the term, “Lamb of God?”
I believe it goes all the way back to Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
Lambs have been a part of the imagery God put in place to help us know and understand Him, and what He is doing for us. Let’s take a moment to go back and look at this imagery.
Adam and Eve.
Guilt and Shame.
God seeks.
God confronts.
God condemns.
God promises.
God provides.
Genesis 3:21 NIV
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
The punishment for disobeying God is death, separation from Him. God demonstrated this, and his Grace by killing an animal in place of Adam and Eve. The text does not indicate a lamb, but in the next chapter, we see Abel offering a lamb, a practice he learned from Adam, who I believe, learned it from God here when he sinned.
God killed a lamb in Adam and Eve’s place. To show how the guilt would be removed and transferred as another took their place.
God then took the garments of shame, the leaves they had used to clothe themselves temporarily, and clothed them with the skin of the lamb that was slain. They were clothed in the lamb that died in their place to remove all shame.
Guilt and shame are dealt with through the blood of the lamb!
Isaiah 61:10 NIV
I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Where else do we see the lamb?
In Job we read that he would make burnt offerings in case his children sinned. What did he use for the burnt offering? Well a contemporary of Job was Abraham. What did Abraham use for burnt offerings?
Genesis 22. Abraham and Isaac.
Pay attention to verse 7-8.
Genesis 22:7–8 NIV
Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
Isaac asked about the lamb. That was the norm. They used lambs for their burnt offerings. The same is true for Israel when God gave them the law which condemns. God also gave them the Levitical system which included the sacrifices. They offered bulls, sheep or goats for burnt offerings. Rich people, kings used bulls. Normal people used sheep, primarily.
Anyway, back to the story...
They go to Mt. Moriah, the place God showed Abraham.
Abraham makes the altar. He arranges the wood. Then, he takes his son, ties him up and lays him on the altar when suddenly… God stops him, and...
Genesis 22:13 NIV
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
Once again, God uses a lamb as a substitute. The lamb dies in the place of Isaac. Guild for sin is taken care of. Shame is dealt with.
All of this is foreshadowing, which I believe God revealed to Abraham, because the story continues with a commentary by Moses.
Genesis 22:14 NIV
So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
It was on that mountain that God did provide, and not just for Adam and Eve. Not just for Isaac. Not just for the Israelites. But for the whole World!!
Isaiah the prophet referred to this in Isaiah 53.
Isaiah 53:1–7 NIV
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
Notice, we were like sheep going astray. Sheep are not great. They wander away. Even though you are watching them all, and lead them where there is food and water, they wander off.
We are all like sheep. God provides direction. He provides what we need. And still we wander away, wanting to go our own way, to pursue things that are not good for us. They appeal because we think they will make us feel good, but they kill us. They are contrary to what God says is right, and they separate us from him.
Then, here comes the Lamb. He is like us, but is perfect. And He dies in our place.
Isaiah continues,
Isaiah 53:10–12 NIV
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Why did John call Jesus the Lamb of God?
The Jews he was preaching to knew all about how God used the image of the Lamb from Genesis on. They knew the concept of how a Lamb was used as a substitute to remove the guilt and shame of sin.
They also knew that they had to offer lambs continually. There was the morning sacrifice, the evening sacrifice, the burnt offerings, the guilt offerings, the peace offerings, and annual sacrifice of atonement. These sacrifices were unending because their sin was unending. There was no removal of sin, guilt and shame. Rather, the sacrifices kept reminding them of their guilt and shame because they knew they would be back again...
That is why Hebrews tells us
Hebrews 10:3–4 NIV
But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
The lamb was an image of hope. That God would provide. But mere lambs could not take away sin, guilt or shame.
And so,
Hebrews 10:5–7 NIV
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’ ”
Jesus came, the Lamb of God. The real substitute from God! The Promised One! The Savior. The one that would die like a lamb, but who would by his sacrifice make us righteous! Truly righteous. No more guilt, no more shame!
Hebrews 10:14 NIV
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Hebrews 10:19–22 NIV
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

“...who takes away the sin of the world!”

"the reason I came baptizing… that he might be revealed”

Matthew 3:13–17 NIV
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
The sign...
God wanted people to know

“I have seen and I testify...”

Read and Meditate on the Lamb who was slain this week. Begin by reading Revelation 5. What is the worship focused around? See verses 8-10, 12, and 13. Meditate on just how central the Lamb being slain is to life in all eternity. Meditate on how glorious the Lamb being slain is. Why does his being slain lead to such worship?
Read Revelation 7:9-17. What has the Lamb done that leads to worship in this passage? Notice verse 14. They were washed! But, unlike Revelation 5, this passage has more. Look at Revelation 7:17. What does the Lamb do? Meditate on how the Lamb ministers to you as your shepherd. Worship him.
Read Genesis 3. God provided a lamb for Adam and Eve. What exactly did God do for them? God dealt with their sin by the shedding of the blood of the lamb. But he also dealt with the shame, didn’t he? What did he do with the lamb skin? This is a great picture of what God does for us with the Lamb, Jesus. Read 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:22. We were washed clean by Jesus’ shed blood. No more guilt. His dying made us clean. And, we were clothed with his righteousness, so there is no more shame. Read Galatians 3:27; Colossians 3:10. We have put on Christ and his righteousness. When you are righteous, there is not shame!! Praise the Lord!
Read Genesis 22. God provided a lamb in place of Isaac. In that exact location, God provided a lamb in your place! Jesus! Praise the Lord that though we all were condemned and facing death, Jesus came, and died in our place! Worship the Lamb!
Read Revelation 21. Notice how it mentions God and the Lamb being the temple. God and the Lamb are with their people. Also, notice the people who are there are the ones who names are written in what book? And the names were written in there from the creation of the world. (cf. Revelation 17:8). Rejoice that God wrote your name before he even created the world! He chose you before the creation of the world! He planned for you! He prepared for you! He wants you!! Rejoice in the Lamb, your shepherd who wants you!
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