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Behold the Lamb

Lent 2022

Read John 1:15-34

15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Already in chapter one, we see Jesus’ specific task and purpose. In Exodus 12, the Israelites are told to kill a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts of their homes. God’s judgment of death would pass over those houses marked by the blood of the lamb. In addition, the events of that night would deliver the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt. This foreshadows Christ’s identity and work. The Lamb is put to death, his blood shed on our behalf, so death passes over us. Through this we are set free. How do we know this is for us? We have been marked in our baptism by the one who baptizes not just with water, but also with the Holy Spirit. Those ancient Israelites had no inherent right to salvation. All they had was the blood of the lamb. The same is true for us today. As we consider God’s historical intervention for the salvation of the world (including our own salvation), we begin to perceive what the Apostle John meant when he said, “From his fullness we have received grace upon grace.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, you have taken away my sin as well. Thank you for the gift of your grace. Send your Holy Spirit to speak your word of pardon and silence the accusations of my burdened conscience. Amen.

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