We refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God. I’ve sang songs about it and heard sermons preached about Jesus being the Lamb of God.
What I had failed to realize before is that John the Baptist is the ONLY guy who ever called Jesus the Lamb of God. I did a little research to see if maybe in ancient texts this was some kind of pet term for the Messiah, but no. It doesn’t show up. I thought for sure Isaiah would have something to say about the Lamb of God! Nope. It is a subtle [or not so subtle] return to Abraham and Isaac and their ram, and then to the Passover; this ancient practice of sacrifice, to remember and to hope for God’s deliverance.
It seems to have escaped everyone but John. He picks up on the significance and beauty of the name. It only shows up twice in Scripture, and the Apostle John is the only one who says anything about the intimate term that John the Baptist uses. He’s the only one who recorded it at all. Both times John [apostle] quotes John [Baptist] as having said it, it is spoken in such awe, reverence and wonder. Listen to this:
John 1:29 // “The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:35-36 // “Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
There are exclamation points at the end of both. He’s completely overcome. He’s known Jesus since before their births, and still as he watches the work of God among men, he’s in awe of the divinity of Jesus.
His ENTIRE life has been about proclaiming the Messiah. Prophets have written about him and his role for ages, and he’s read their words. It’s so true, that it maybe has become mundane. It enwraps every cell so much that he forgets at moments, maybe just how true it is. And then there is a little snippet of time where it’s never been as true as it is right then. He eats weird stuff, and dresses in clothes that make him and his message stand out. He has a whole bunch of disciples around him who are helping him tell the story that God put it in him to tell before he was a speck in Elizabeth’s belly. But when he sees Jesus this time, when he dunks him under the water and then the next day he looks at Jesus while He’s walking he’s so overcome all he can say is,
“The Lamb of God!”
His breath has been taken away with Jesus, the Lamb of God!
When’s the last time I’ve taken in the reality of Jesus in this way. Not as my friend, not as my favorite confidante, not as my personal Savior meant to answer every beckon call of mine. But as the Lamb of God!
When have I been so taken in with Jesus that all I can possibly do in that moment is whisper under my breath, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”