By J. Sidlow Baxter
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" -John 1: 29.
IF ever-Christian believers needed to echo and re-echo these words of John the Baptist, they do today. We are not fond of flinging aspersions; yet we cannot help openly lamenting that many so-called Christian pulpits and churches are doing anything except exhorting men and women to behold Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world".
In many places Jesus is preached merely as an idealist, a standard-bearer of high morals; or as a kind of pioneer in things spiritual. His significance is ethical rather than redemptive. His death on the Cross-is either left out, or else its true nature as a substitutionary sacrifice for human sin is hidden under the drapery of aesthetic adulations of His pathetic heroism. His death is exemplary rather than expiatory.
The Lamb of God
The inner glory of the Cross-is missed, because its outer ugliness is shunned. The lingering presence of Jesus in His church is a mystical vagary rather than the actual personal presence of the Living One who rose bodily from the grave.
Meanwhile, new-fangled Unitarian cults are everywhere around us, preaching a spurious demi-god Christ stripped of His real deity. It is the sacred business of every true Christian to help uplift the real Jesus again as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"!
Let these words of John the forerunner remind us that whatever other offices belong to our Lord Jesus, He is first and foremost "the Lamb of God".
We do not forget that He is
The Lion of Judah.
The "Star of David
The "True Vine
The "Wonderful Counsellor.
Not to mention His many other illustrious titles; but before everything else He is "the Lamb". He is Prophet, Priest, and King; yet even before these He is "the Lamb".
He did not become incarnate merely as Prophet to teach, or as Priest to pray, or as King to rule. No, before all else, He became incarnate as "the Lamb" to save us. His first significance is not ethical or religious, but redemptive--as He Himself taught (Matt. 18 :11; 20: 28; 6:28).
Undoubtedly, when He is called "the Lamb", there is a reference to His character.
In His meekness,
He is indeed the "Lamb". There is nothing harsh or haughty or retaliative about Him.
Nor is there the slightest blemish in His nature. His character is that of the Lamb.
Yet though this is so, the fact remains that when He is called "the Lamb of God", the first reference is net to His character, but to His substitutionary sacrifice as the race's Sin bearer.
Everything is subordinate to that. John the Baptist flings his emphasis on the words, "Takes away the sin of the world". That is the supreme feature:
Jesus is the Saviour.
That is why John pointed to Him.
That is why we must point to Him.
He is the substitutionary guilt-bearer.
He took our place.
He bore our sentence.
He was offered for our sakes.
"He is the propitiation for our sins", yes even for "the whole world" (I Jn. 2: 2).
A doubter once said to a Christian worker,
"I cannot believe in the virgin birth of Jesus; there has never been any other such birth in all history."
The Christian replied, "That is quite true: there is no other such in all history, simply because there is only the one Saviour."
Awake my heart - Daily Devotional. Marshall, Morgan & Scott (Out of Print)