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064 The Lamb of God – who taketh away the sin of the world

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world’     John 1:29

Key Verse:

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him”

John 3:36

(John 1,3)

In the past two lessons, we saw that Jesus the Messiah was unique in His birth and His nature.

* Concerning His birth, we discovered that no one has ever been born like Jesus, because

He had no earthly father.

He was born of a virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

* Concerning His nature,

Jesus was unique.

Never has another been born with a holy nature. He had a body like ours, but He did not have our evil nature. Jesus was unstained by sin, because He was the Savior that God sent into the world to bear for us the punishment for our sin.

We plan to continue in the Gospel and hear what the prophet John testified concerning Jesus. John was the prophet whom God sent to prepare the way before the Messiah.

Reading in the Gospel of John the Scripture says: (John 1:19-20,22-24,26-30) “And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him,

who art thou?

And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ … Then said they unto him, who art thou? That we may give an answer to them that sent us What sayest thou of thyself? He said,

I am the voice

of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet, Isaiah. And they who were sent were of the Pharisees … John answered them, saying, I baptise with water; but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not. He it is who, coming after me,

is preferred before me,

whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptising. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith,

Behold the Lamb of God,

who taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man who is preferred before me; for he was before me”.

Let us pause here and think about the testimony of the prophet John. Did you hear how he referred to the Messiah? Let us read the Scripture again. It says: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold

the Lamb of God,

who taketh away the sin of the world” We have already read how the prophets of God called the Messiah by many names such as the Redeemer, the Saviour, the King, the Lord, the Word of God and the Son of God. Now we hear that He was called the Lamb of God.” This is a very important title which deserves explanation.

Why did John call Jesus the Lamb of God?

Was Jesus a lamb?

No, Jesus was not an actual lamb, just as we who are Batswana are not actual animals, although we sometimes call ourselves such, using our totems, i.e. Baphuting. All of us know clearly that this is only a manner of speech, because we would like to know and remember our past. But why did the prophet John call Jesus

the Lamb of God?

Why would anyone want to be like a lamb? Why did John point to Jesus, and say to his disciples, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world”?

To understand what the title “Lamb of God” means, we should remember what God decreed after Adam and Eve had sinned. God decreed that the payment for sin is death and hell and that if the blood of a spotless sacrifice is not shed,

there would be no forgiveness of sin.

Thus, we read how Adam and Eve’s second son, Abel, believed God, slaughtered a lamb and offered it to God on an altar as a sacrifice to take away (or cover) his sin. When God saw the blood of the lamb, He cancelled the punishment for Abel’s sin, and judged him as righteous, because an innocent lamb had died in his place. Nevertheless, God also said that the blood of a lamb could not be accepted as a payment for sin forever, because

the value

of an animal and the value of a man are not equal. The lamb was only a shadow and an illustration of the holy Redeemer who was to come into the world and shed His blood to deliver sinners from God’s righteous judgement.

Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah wrote how the Messiah would be

“led like a lamb to the slaughter”

as a sacrifice to take away our sins (Isaiah 53:7). Thus, between the time of Abel and the time of the Messiah, all who believed God respected and participated in the sacrifices of lambs. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and all the prophets, and all who believed the Word of God, had the habit of presenting to God sacrifices of spotless lambs. In this way they were all looking ahead to the day when God would send down the final sacrifice, that is, the holy Redeemer, who would shed His blood as a sacrifice that takes away sin forever.

That is why, dear friends, when the prophet John saw Jesus coming toward him, he pointed to Him and said to his disciples,

“Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world”

Thus did John make known to his disciples that this Jesus standing before them was the Messiah, “the Lamb” which God sent down from heaven,

the Perfect Sacrifice

of which all the prophets prophesied. Jesus is the holy sacrifice who came into the world to die in the place of the children of Adam so that God can forgive us of our sins forever!

After this, the Scripture says: (John 1:35-46) “again the next day John stood, and two of his disciples; and, looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith,

Behold the Lamb of God!

And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them,

What seekest ye?

They said unto him, Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Master), where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day; for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother, Simon, and saith unto him,

We have found the

Messiah,

which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, thou art Simon, the son of Jonah; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him,

Follow me.

Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him,

Come and see”.

Thus, we see how John’s disciples began to follow Jesus. Why did the prophet John’s disciples leave him to follow the Lord Jesus? They began to follow Jesus because

they believed what John told them

when he said that Jesus was the Messiah and the Lamb of God of whom all of God’s prophets prophesied! Thus, when one of John’s disciples, that is, Andrew, recognized that Jesus was the Messiah, he went to find his brother Simon Peter and said to him:

“We have found the Messiah!”

And when another disciple by the name of Philip recognized who Jesus was, he was overjoyed and told Nathanael, his friend, We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote, Jesus of Nazareth!”

Yes, Andrew and Peter, Philip and Nathanael

rejoiced greatly

when they saw Jesus, because they knew that for thousands of years the prophets had been predicting the coming of the MessiahNow they were seeing the Messiah with their own eyes! Praise be to God! The mighty Redeemer of whom all of God’s prophets had been prophesying was among them! Praise God, at last,

the Messiah had come!

Thus, these four disciples of John began to follow Jesus, becoming His first disciples.

After that, the Scripture says: (Matthew 4:21-25) “Going on from there, he saw two other brethren, James, the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, in a boat with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets;

and he called them.

And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with diverse diseases and torments, and those who were possessed with demons, and those who were epileptics, and those who were paralysed;

and he healed them.

And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond the Jordan”.

God willing, in the next lesson, we will consider the stories that show how the Lord Jesus taught the crowds and how He worked great miracles. We will see that by His words and His works Jesus proved that He was who He claimed to be

the Messiah about whom all the prophets had written!

However in the rest of this lesson, we will read ahead to see what happened to the prophet John. As we just saw, after John proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, John’s disciples began to leave him, one by one, so that they might follow the Lord Jesus. Did that please John? Was the prophet John pleased that his disciples had left him to follow Jesus?

What do you think?

Listen to what is written in the Gospel of John. (John 3:26-30) “And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same baptiseth, and

all men come to him.

John answered, and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said,

I am not the Christ,

but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice; this my joy, therefore, is fulfilled.

He must increase, but I must decrease”.

What do you think about this? John expressed great joy when his disciples left him to follow the Messiah! John’s joy was complete, because he had accomplished his mission; he had prepared the way before the Messiah. Like a true prophet of God,

John’s only desire was to lead people to the Messiah.

How different the prophet John was from so many religious leaders today! A true spiritual leader will always point you to the Lord Jesus, because Jesus is the only One who can get you into the holy presence of God in Paradise. John knew that there were many prophets of God, but

only one Savior!

That is why John said: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36)

Concerning

the end of John’s life,

the Scripture says: “And many other things in his exhortaion preached he unto the people. But Herod, the tetrach, being reproved by him for Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done.” (Luke 3:18,19) That is why Herod gave orders to have John arrested, bound and put in prison. In the end, Herod had John beheaded in order to please his wife (see Mark 6:17,27). Thus,

John entered the glory of the presence of God in heaven.

The Scripture tells us that John was a great prophet, even greater than the prophets who came before him. What made John greater than the other prophets? Here is the answer. All the other prophets proclaimed: “The Messiah is going to come!

He will come!

He will come!” However, the proclamation of the prophet John was:

The Messiah is here!

His Name is Jesus! Look! The Lamb of God who will be killed to take away the sin of the world has come! Follow Him!” Thus John accomplished his task as

the most important prophet who prepared the way before the Messiah.

In the will of God, in our next lesson, we will continue in the holy Gospel and discover why Jesus is called the Great Physician.

May God give you understanding into everything we have studied in this lesson. Nothing is more important than what the prophet John proclaimed concerning Jesus the Messiah, when he said, 

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have