To Be the Lamb of God

from the Advent 2020: Jesus Christ Is Born reading plan

Exodus 12:1-14, Exodus 14:21-28, John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, 1 Peter 1:17-21

What image this year will we take up to be our emphasis as we look toward the arrival of our coming Lord? The motifs are numerous and the examples are without end. We hear of the “Suffering Servant,” “King of kings,” “Prince of Peace.” Christ has indeed transformed and redefined our relationship with God; He is the perfect, flawless, Lamb of God.

The Gospel of John opens with the testimony of John the Baptist about who Jesus is. After answering questions from religious leaders, John clarifies the distinction between his own identity and that of Jesus, immediately focusing the crowd’s attention to the significance of the one who was coming to them. He insists that attention needs to be given to the forthcoming Savior of the world, and when he sees Jesus approaching, proclaims, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29).

God’s plan for our redemption rests solely on Christ’s work on the cross. John’s announcement reminds us we don’t need to work up to meet God. Instead, God has come down to meet us where we are. Jesus’s coming to earth transformed and redefined our relationship to our God because He is the Lamb of God. In Christ, the transcendent becomes imminent and transforms our outlook and future.

Lambs were animals that everyone in the initial crowd that day was familiar with. Since the first Passover—when the blood of lambs marked the Israelites’ doorposts, and Yahweh spared and delivered the Israelites from slavery and oppression in Egypt—lambs were used as sacrificial offerings to God, and in remembrance and celebration of His faithfulness to them (Exodus 12:12–14).

John expresses that Jesus embodies that which lambs could only begin to do. He is the Lamb of God, and therefore, He alone can remove the stain of sin from our hearts. This declaration should stop us in our tracks when we consider that in Jesus, all of God is on display. He is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). Rather than human beings continuing to sacrifice to atone for their sins, God Himself had come to offer Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, transforming our understanding of sacrifice and salvation.

The hymn “Go! Tell It on the Mountain” reminds us that down in a lowly manger, our Christ was born. Through this humble birth, God sent salvation that blessed Christmas morning. I pray that this season, we will be reminded that we can already belong in God’s family because of the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. May we begin to sing now, declaring what we look forward to one day. We will stand as a redeemed and restored creation, singing together before the throne: “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Revelation 5:12).

Written by Cameron Thomas

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