Behold the Lamb of God!
Behold the Lamb of God!
Series: The Gospel of John
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - April 20, 2016
(Revised June 18, 2019)
*Have you ever gotten some really good advice? -- Something you could look back on and say, "Wow! -- I sure am glad I listened to that!"
*I remember getting some very kind and patient advice from my dad many years ago. It happened after I got crossed up with my mother. Dad's advice was excellent, and almost 45 years later, I still have it in a letter at home
*All of us have gotten some excellent advice in life, or we probably wouldn't be here tonight. -- Amen? That's the kind of advice John the Baptist gave to his disciples here in God's Word.
*First in vs. 29: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" The best advice anybody could ever give anybody is summed up in those words: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" There is soul-saving, world-changing power in those few short words. God revealed to John the Baptist that he was looking at the long-promised Messiah and only Savior of the world.
*God also revealed to John that Jesus had always existed in eternity past. So in vs. 30, John the Baptist said: "This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.'"
*Verses 31-33 tell us that God revealed to John that the Holy Spirit would visibly descend on the Messiah like a dove and remain on Him. God also revealed to John that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. So in vs. 34, John said: "I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.''
*"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" When John the Baptist said those words, he knew a lot about sacrificial lambs. Every Jew of that day did. From Genesis 22, they knew the story of how the Lord told Abraham to sacrifice his only promised son, Isaac. But in Genesis 22:8, by faith Abraham knew that God would provide the lamb for the sacrificial offering.
*Every Jew of that day knew this story. They also knew about the Passover lambs whose blood protected the Children of Israel when God killed the first born of Egypt.
*Also know that on the day when King Solomon dedicated the first Temple, 2 Chronicles 7:5 tells us that he "offered a sacrifice of 22,000 bulls and 120,000 sheep!" Untold millions of lambs and other animals were sacrificed for sin in Old Testament times. But it was never enough. The Word of God makes this truth abundantly clear in Hebrews 10. There the Bible tells us that:
1. . . The law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
2. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
3. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
5. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.
6. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure.
7. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me), to do Your will, O God.'''
8. Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them'' (which are offered according to the law),
9. then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.'' He takes away the first that He may establish the second.
10. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
12. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
13. from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
14. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
*Millions of lambs and other animals were sacrificed for sin in Old Testament times. And all of those sacrifices times a million could "never take away sins." But every one of those Old Testament sacrifices points us to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us. That's why in John 1:29, the first thing John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus was: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
*The sacrifice of our Savior was God's plan all along, and that sacrifice was needed because of our sin. Somebody had to take the punishment. Somebody had to pay the price for our sins. And Jesus was the only one qualified to die for others, because He had no sins of His own.
*So again, Hebrews 10 says:
12. . . This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.
14. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
*That's the cross of Jesus Christ! One sacrifice for all! One sacrifice forever!
*Verses 35-36 tell us that:
35. . . The next day, John stood with two of his disciples.
36. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!''
*That's what John the Baptist's two disciples began to do. And God wants everyone to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. It will change our lives forever!
*But what happens when we really begin to behold the Lord Jesus Christ? These two disciples show us.
1. AND FIRST: WE BEGIN TO SPEAK WITH THE LORD.
*That's what began to happen in vs. 37-38. The two men John the Baptist steered toward Jesus were Peter's brother Andrew, and most likely the Apostle John. These two men began to follow Jesus. No doubt they were eager to learn more about Jesus, so they began to talk with the Lord.
*But notice that Jesus made the first move. Actually, Jesus always makes the first move, even if you can't see that yet in your life. The Lord made the first move here, and He began by asking a big question.
*In vs. 37-38:
37. The two disciples heard him speak (i.e. they heard John the Baptist speak), and they followed Jesus.
38. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?''
*Or "What seek ye?" "What do you want?" "What are you looking for?" Church: That's a big question! What are you looking for? What are we looking for in life? William Barclay called it "the most fundamental question in life." What are you seeking in life? (1)
*Many people just seek for money or power or pleasure. Many others aren't seeking for much of anything. They are just drifting along in life. But what about us? What are we looking for in life?
*And what are we looking for in Jesus? Are we just looking for a ticket to Heaven? Jesus will never settle for just that. He wants to be our Lord as well as our Savior. He must be our God as well as our Best Friend. So Jesus asks us questions. He seeks, He speaks, and He wants to speak to each one of us here tonight.
*In the early 1800s, Edward Payson was a famous preacher in New England. But one stormy Sunday there was only one person in church to hear his sermon. Pastor Payson did not let that get him down. He preached just as faithfully and passionately as if that huge church was overflowing with people.
*Several months later, the one man who was in church that day went to see Bro. Payson. And he told the preacher, "I was led to the Savior through that service, because whenever you talked about sin and salvation, I glanced around to see who you were talking to. But there was no one there but me, so I had no choice but to lay every word to my own heart!" (2)
*That man heard from the Lord that day because he was alone in church. But even if there had been a thousand people there, the Lord still would have had something to say to him. And Jesus has something to say to us right now.
 SOMETIMES THE LORD SPEAKS TO CHALLENGE US.
*Like in Matthew 7:3 where Jesus asked, "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"
-Matthew 8:26, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?"
-Matthew 9:4, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?"
-And three times to the Apostle Peter in John 21, "Do you love me?" "Do you love me?" "Do you love me?"
*Even in the Old Testament, the Lord used questions to challenge people. In Isaiah 55:1-3, the Lord says:
1. "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."
*The Lord often uses questions to challenge people. Think about when our Risen Savior challenged Paul on the Road to Damascus. Acts 9:1-6 says:
1. Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
2. and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3. And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
4. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "SAUL, SAUL, WHY ARE YOU PERSECUTING ME?''
5. And he said, "Who are You, Lord?'' And the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.''
6. So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?'' And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.''
 JESUS SPEAKS TO CHALLENGE US WHEN WE NEED IT. MANY OTHER TIMES HE SPEAKS TO COMFORT US.
*In Matthew 11:28-29:
28. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, you will find rest for your souls."
*In John 11:25-26, Jesus said:
25. . . "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26. Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. . ."
*In John 14:1-2:
1. "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
*And in 2 Corinthians 12:9, we learn that Jesus said: "My grace is sufficient for you." Thank God for that! Jesus Christ has something to say to every single one of us. But are we willing to hear?
*Al Marchand was on the second plane that hit the World Trade Center back in 2001, but his wife, Rebecca, saw it as a divine appointment. She said, "I know it was no mistake he was on Flight 175.
*Al had only heard about the Lord four years earlier. That was back in 1997, when Al was a longtime policeman. But he also worked as a bartender on his days off. And for a long time, Al was not willing to hear from the Lord.
*God had no place in Al's life. But the morning cleaners who came in to clean the bar liked to listen to preaching tapes while they mopped. Al hated that at first. He was really annoyed by all of that preaching. But the idea of having a personal relationship with God began to fascinate him. Eventually, both Al and Rebecca got saved! (3)
*The Lord spoke to Al Marchand through some sermons he never planned to hear, and at first, didn't want to hear. Now Jesus has something to say to every one of us. What is the Lord trying to say to you?
2. WHEN WE BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, WE BEGIN TO SPEAK WITH THE LORD. WE ALSO BEGIN TO STAY WITH THE LORD.
*Again, in vs. 36-39, John the Baptist looked at Jesus as He walked, and John urged his disciples to:
36. . . "Behold the Lamb of God!''
37. The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?'' They said to Him, "Rabbi'' (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying (or dwelling)?''
39. He said to them, "Come and see.'' They came and saw where He was staying, and remained (or abode) with Him that day. . .
*When John and Andrew really began to see Jesus, they wanted to stay with the Lord. William Barclay explained that "they didn't just want to speak to Jesus as strangers might stop and exchange a few words. They wanted to linger long with the Lord, and learn more about Him. They wanted to talk to Jesus about their troubles and concerns."
*And Barclay said, "The man who would be Jesus' disciple can never be satisfied with a passing word. He wants to meet Jesus not as an acquaintance in passing, but as a friend in his house." (1)
*That's what these two disciples did in vs. 39: Jesus "said to them, 'Come and see.' They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day. . ." The KJV says they "abode" with Jesus that day, and this word simply means to "stay," "continue," or "remain."
*But this word is very important in the Bible. It's found 120 times in the New Testament. For example, in John 15:4-5, Jesus tells His followers:
4. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."
*In John 15:9, Jesus also said, "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love."
*One of the other translations of this original word is "dwell," and that helps us understand what it's talking about. Bob Deffinbaugh explained that "when we dwell in a place, we make that place our home. So to abide in Jesus as the Vine is to make our home in Him, just as He also makes His home in us. And to abide in Jesus' love is to make our home in His love.
*Think about what 'home' means to us: Hopefully, home is where the heart is. Home is where we want to be, especially during holidays. Hopefully, home is the place where we feel comfortable, and relaxed. Home is a place of safety and security. It's our base of operations. Home is one of the main places where we bring our friends when we want to have fellowship with them. Home is where the people and things we love the most are found."
*And Bob asked: "Isn't this what Jesus Christ should be for the Christian? Shouldn't Jesus be our place of refuge and security? Shouldn't He be the source of our life and strength? Shouldn't He be where our heart is?" (4)
*The answer, of course, is yes! But we have to abide or remain or dwell in His love. What good would home be if we never went home? We must consciously and intentionally abide with Jesus every day of our lives, even though He may take us to some unexpected places.
*After the policeman/bartender Al Marchand and his wife, Rebecca got saved, it was a total change. Al had retired from the police department after 20 years. And eventually, the Lord led Al to a new career as a flight attendant of all things.
*Sometimes the Lord leads us in unusual ways, and that's what happened to Al. One day he was buying airline tickets on the Internet, and Al noticed an ad to become a flight attendant. Al got the job and felt like it was his life's calling. He once told Rebecca, "What if there is a time when a flight is going down? What if I am the only one who can share the gospel?" (3)
*It may sound strange, but for Al Marchand, staying with the Lord meant an old cop turning into a flight attendant. What does staying with the Lord mean in your life today?
3. WHEN WE REALLY BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, WE BEGIN TO STAY WITH THE LORD. AND WE BEGIN TO SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO OTHER PEOPLE.
*That's what John the Baptist was doing in vs. 29 and 36, when he proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God!" John was spreading the good news about Jesus to other people. And that's what Andrew did in vs. 40-42:
40. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
41. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah'' (which is translated, the Christ).
42. And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas'' (which is translated, A Stone).
*In these verses Andrew did two of the most important things we can ever do to spread the good news about Jesus.
 FIRST IN VS. 41, ANDREW GAVE HIS TESTIMONY.
*He found his brother Simon, Peter and simply said to him: "We have found the Messiah!'' (which is translated, the Christ). Andrew shared his testimony, and every Christian has a testimony.
*As I said last week: If you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you have a testimony too. It's your story of how you came to know the Lord in a personal way. And God wants us to share our stories.
 ANDREW GAVE HIS TESTIMONY. THEN HE GAVE AN INVITATION.
*Andrew invited his brother Peter to come and meet Jesus. And Peter said yes! So vs. 42 says: "He brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, 'You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas' (which is translated, A Stone)."
*God wants us to give our testimonies. He also wants us to invite people to church, because this is one of the best places to get to know the Lord Jesus Christ. And God wants us to do everything we can to share the Lord with other people.
*After he got saved, Al Marchand often shared his faith with old buddies from the bar. And just a month before 9-11, Al flew home next to a nervous passenger named Linda Links. She asked if he would talk to her to ease her fear of flying.
*When she learned about Al's death on 9-11, Linda remembered that Al had said, "I became a flight attendant so if a plane went down I could have 30 to 40 seconds to speak the gospel to people so they could receive Christ."
*Al's wife, Rebecca is certain the passengers on Al's plane heard the gospel before they crashed, because nothing gave Al greater joy than telling people about the love of Jesus Christ.
*That's the way the good news of the cross is multiplied to more and more people. Andrew found Peter, and Peter found so many more! We can see the same kind of multiplication in Al Marchand's life. Over a hundred people responded to the altar call at Al's memorial service. And Rebecca even got to share his story on the NBC Today show. (3)
*What happens when we really begin to behold the Lamb of God?
-We begin to speak with the Lord.
-We begin to stay with the Lord.
-And we begin to spread the good news wherever we possibly can.
*Please think about these things, and as we go back to God in prayer. And as we bow for prayer, "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
(1) Adapted from BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES - NEW TESTAMENT by William Barclay - Revised Edition - Copyright 1975 - First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - "https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/john-1.html
(2) Adapted from Robert J. Morgan, Nelson's Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers - 2000 - "Edward Payson's Small Audience"
(3) "New Man" - January/February 2002, p.12 - Source: "In Other Words" - Fall 2002 - Part 1 - Produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry - www.iows.net
(4) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "Abiding in Christ" by Bob Deffinbaugh - John 15:1-17