John 1:29-31 — The Lamb of God

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.”

"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" declares John the Baptist as he sees Jesus approaching him. To understand why John called Jesus a lamb, we need to know a little about Jewish history.

In the Old Testament, lambs played a central role in the sacrificial system. The Israelites were instructed to select lambs without blemish and sacrificed as atonement for their sins. The lamb's blood symbolized the forgiveness of sins and the restoration of a right relationship with God. Please refer to Exodus 29:38-39 or Leviticus 16:15-16 for a couple of references. 

However, the sacrificial system in the Old Testament was a temporary solution at best. As the author of the letter to the Hebrews declared: "It is impossible for the blood of animals to take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). It pointed forward to a greater sacrifice that was to come. This would be the Messiah —or Savior— who Isaiah had prophesied would be like a lamb led to the slaughter, bearing the sins of many (Isaiah 53:7). 

Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by coming to dwell among us. Living a sinless life, he would be the perfect lamb without blemish, and he gave his life on the cross, shedding his blood as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Through his sacrifice, Jesus accomplished what the animal sacrifices could not—eternal forgiveness and reconciliation between God and humanity.

By expressing faith in Jesus and repenting of our sins, we partake in the benefits of his sacrifice. Baptism symbolizes our identification with his death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). Through faith and baptism, we enter into a restored relationship with God, receiving the forgiveness of sins made possible by the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

The price has been paid once and for all. Through faith expressed in repentance and baptism, we embrace the saving work of Jesus, who took away the sin of the world. This proclamation invites all to turn to him, find forgiveness, and experience the transformation of a new life in him. 

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you haven't, now is the time. Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) and be reconciled to God forever.

God bless you.