In the Second Sunday of Epiphany, we read of the manifestation of Jesus as, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). This phrase is only found in two places in the NT, here and in vs 36. Why did John the Baptist call Jesus the Lamb of God? This declaration is unique as it conveys a very important truth about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us in obedience to God the Father.
The phrase, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, brings us back to Isaiah’s Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53). The Suffering Servant bears the sins of the people of Israel (Isaiah 53:6–12) and is described as a lamb led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7, Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19). He was the One who was silent before the shearers. He was the One who was crushed by God. He was the One who bore the sins of many, and He was the One who interceded for many. He was the Lamb of God who takes away our sins. Jesus is also the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) as the Gospel of John applies the Passover Lamb imagery to Jesus at His death (John 19:36, Exodus 12:46). Jesus’ death took place at the slaying of the Passover lambs (John 18:28; 19:14, 31).
When we think of Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, we are compelled to remember on 4 things:
(i) We ought to remember that we are sinners who are in need God’s saving grace. We are powerless to save ourselves. John the Baptist pointed those around him to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.
(ii) We ought to remember that we need to fix our eyes on Jesus. We cannot fix our situations with our own power and our own effort. We are the ones who had sinned against God. Therefore, we need to fix our eyes on the Son of God who died for us on the cross, while we were still sinners.
(iii) We ought to remember that Jesus died once for all. We have been forgiven. The Lamb of God took our sins upon Him and endured all the punishment that was due to us. He paid all our debts. So, we have hope. We have joy.
(iv) We ought to remember that we cannot continue to sin against God. Having been saved from such a great debt, we ought to be renewed and find peace with God. Our appropriate respond to such a great salvation is to follow Him and stay with Him.
Rev. Dr Timothy Chong