A Revealing Title

A Revealing Title

Jesus is the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sins of the world

A good friend of mine, one of the young men that I have mentored, has decided to get his PhD, and he has been talking to me about doing the same, and I said I’m not going to do that. I’ve had enough school, but he’s almost convinced me to go back to get my doctorate. Which it’s a little bit different, and I’ve thought about this, and there’s really only one reason I would go back to get my doctorate. So, every morning when I wake up, Jennifer would have to say “Good morning, Doctor.” But, all that work! I wouldn’t make anybody else call me doctor.

Just a side note, but yeah, that title “doctor” carries with it something, and I do remember growing up meeting a pastor who was a doctor, and I can’t remember his last name, but I said if I have an earache, is that who I go to? Because that word “doctor” means something, right?

That title “doctor” carries with it and reveals something about the person. They could be a medical doctor, they could be a doctor in all kinds of different areas, especially if we walk around and my wife calls me doctor all the time. That would be fantastic, but those titles carry meaning and communicate to others what we do, you know, kind of who we are and kind of what we do.

And right now, I just have the title “pastor.” I’m Pastor Trent, but somebody hears that and they say well, you talk for a living. Yesterday we had an opportunity to work at the Habitat House in Landis. Any of you who would love to do that, just let me know. They work every Saturday, but it was a bunch of us out there from a couple different churches, an F3 group and me and the pastor from First Reformed – David Franks. We get along really good, he and I. He was one of the first guys I’ve met. We have a good relationship, but we kind of have the same problem. We’re pastors, which means nobody gives us a hammer. You know, we talk for a living. We have soft hands, so to speak. So, we were just carrying boards and lifting things and pretty much sitting around leaning on the boards for a while.

Because the title “pastor” carries with it something. Teachers – we say oh, that’s a teacher; we know what they do. Their title communicates clearly; a carpenter or a plumber or a banker or businessman or entrepreneur or lawyer. Those titles communicate to people what we do. It’s not necessarily the full scope of our identity, but the title reveals things to people.

We’re going to continue looking at the Gospel of John, and we’ve been working through the first chapter very slowly and very methodically, and we have seen the author of the book give us a few titles about Jesus.

Jesus is the eternal Word of God. He’s preexistent. He’s always existed. He is fully God 100% and He’s fully man. He is the agent of creation. He is Life. He is Light. He is Grace and Truth. Those are all titles that have revealed to us Who Jesus is.

And then last week we were introduced to another guy named John. We call him John the Baptist because he was a baptizer, and he is going to reveal to us another title. This is a powerful title. It is a title for Jesus that is going to reveal to us very clearly why Jesus has come and what He is here to do. So, if you have your Bibles, turn to John, chapter one. We’ll start in verse 29.  John chapter one, verse 29, and what I want us to see today is just real simple truth:

Jesus is the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sins of the world. Jesus is the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sins of the world, and the reason I need you to understand that is cause when we understand Who Jesus is and what He came to do from the beginning, that He is the Lamb of God, when we understand that, we will understand how we are to respond to Him. We will understand how great a love not only Jesus has for us, but how much love that God has for us. So, John chapter one, verse 29.

John 1:29-34 – 29 The next day he (John the Baptist) 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.” 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

John the Baptist gives us a very clear eyewitness account of Jesus. Now John the author does not go into the details about Jesus’s baptism like the other Gospels. But what is made clear here is that at Jesus’s baptism, John the Baptist saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus, and because he witnessed that with his own eyes, he’s able to proclaim – this is the Lamb of God. This is the Son of God. This is the Savior of the world, but the phrase that I just want us to focus in on is the Lamb of God. It’s a title we don’t really see anywhere else in the New Testament. There’re a few places that reference Jesus as a lamb, but this “You are the Lamb of God,” this is John the Baptist’s proclamation of Who Jesus is, and it is a revealing title.

But first, that word “behold.” You got to love this, because John the Baptist remember is a street preacher – loud, boisterous. That word “behold” in the CSB which I read says, “Look!!” That is an emphatic word. So here comes Jesus, and John the Baptist says, “Look!!” He’s shouting at the top of his lungs. Behold! Look! There’s Jesus! It’s an emphatic proclamation. He wants everybody within the sound of his voice to say this is the guy. These religious leaders, they thought I was the guy. I’m just a guy that eats locusts and honey. Yeah, I’m not the guy. This is the guy. This is the One. He is the Lamb of God, but why would he proclaim Jesus as the Lamb of God? Well, this is where I think we get three insights from the text.

John has got Old Testament pictures in his mind. He also has pictures of his dad in his mind. The first thing I want you to see –

1 – The Lamb provides a sacrifice.

That’s what the people very familiar with the Old Testament, very familiar with this Jewish context, would think. They would have heard of the Lamb of God, and John said the Lamb provides a sacrifice. Their minds would have maybe gone to Exodus Chapter 12 when the Angel of Death was being sent as the 10th plague when the Israelites were in bondage and slavery in Egypt. The instructions that Moses has given is very clear – sacrifice the lamb and put the blood of the lamb on your door post, and the Angel of Death will pass over you. It was the sacrifice that saved them from the Angel of Death.

Maybe John the Baptist has Isaiah 53 in his mind. A very prophetic passage in Isaiah 53 that says this – “But He was pierced because of our rebellion. He was crushed because of our iniquities. Punishment for our peace was on Him and we are healed by his wounds.” Talking about the death and crucifixion of Jesus thousands of years before.

Isaiah 53:6 – we all went astray. Everybody was like sheep without a shepherd. We all went astray. We’ve all turned to our own ways, and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquities of all of us. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open his mouth like a lamb led to slaughter.

The lamb had to provide the sacrifice. And Jesus does that. He willfully goes to be slaughtered for our sins. Maybe John the Baptist has this picture growing up. Maybe he remembers his dad, remembers Zachariah, the priest. The priest would go into the temple twice a day. They had to take lambs into the temple to sacrifice those lambs for the sins of the nation of Israel twice a day. So maybe John the Baptist has this picture of his dad coming home from a long day of service with blood-stained clothes because he sacrificed the lamb for the sins of the whole nation.

The lamb provides sacrifice. And you may be thinking, well lambs are kind of cute. Anybody seen a lamb? Why does there have to be a sacrifice? Well, the writer of Hebrews just kind of puts it like this. According to the Law of God, according to the Law, everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. I don’t know why there has to be shedding of blood. I don’t know why God chose that. But it’s God’s world. It’s God’s Word. God knows what’s best. God did and set out these parameters because that’s what God wanted to do, and we don’t understand everything, but here’s what we understand.

There has to be a sacrifice. The lamb provides the sacrifice. Jesus is the Lamb of God, the Lamb of sacrifice. But John the Baptist probably also has another Old Testament passage in mind, and that’s the second thing.

2 – The Lamb provides a substitute.

The Lamb provides a substitute. We see it in Isaiah 53 that the sacrifice is a substitute for our sins. But we also know this idea from Genesis 22. The old man, older than anybody in this room, Abraham, had a kid. In his old age, God blessed him with a kid. His name was Isaac. And then God said to sacrifice him. As a parent, that will hit you and hit you right in the face. Sacrifice your son.

So, Abraham goes – he takes his son. He takes the wood. He’s prepared to kill his only son. And as Isaac’s laying there on the altar, God says stop. And he looks over and what does he see? A ram, a lamb, thornbush, crown of thorns. And God says, this is your substitute, don’t you hurt Isaac.

The lamb provides a substitute. It’s a beautiful picture in the Old Testament. We read it through New Testament eyes, but it’s a beautiful picture that God says, I will provide the substitute. I will provide the sacrifice. Think about this. Every day the sinners, the sinful people, brought the lambs. It’s the people having to sacrifice the lambs. It’s the people having to do these things and God says through Jesus, I’m going to provide the substitute for all those lambs.

I’m going to provide the sacrifice. I’m going to take, through Jesus, I’m going to take your place. The Bible is very clear that the wages of sin is death. All of us, everybody in this room, is destined to die spiritually. Without Jesus, we are the ones who should be hanging on that cross.

There was a small boy one time. He was always late for dinner. And one particular day, his dad said, if you don’t show up for dinner on time, you’re not going to get anything to eat. Of course, being all boy that he is, he showed up later than ever that night, and he sat down at the table and all that was there was a piece of bread and a cup of water. Mom and Dad had the roast beef and mashed taters. This boy was devastated. He looked up. He grabbed his piece of bread and his dad said stop. He took that plate away and slid the roast beef in front of him. The dad substituted for his son.

God our Father sent Jesus as a substitute. The Lamb provides a substitute. This lamb is a sacrifice. The lamb is a substitute.

3 – And the Lamb also provides security.

I don’t want you to miss this – the Lamb provides security. John 3:15 states that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will have eternal life. If you believe in Christ today, you have eternal life. You can’t lose it. Over and over again, the lamb, the next lamb, the next lamb. It’s never security. Every time you sin, you are like, I got to go get a lamb. But Jesus is the end of it. On the cross, Jesus says it is finished. It is done. There is security. We don’t have to continue sacrificing lamb after lamb after lamb. The work has been done.

Forgiveness has been made available, and once you decide to follow Jesus, that’s it. You can’t lose it. It can’t be taken away. You are secured for eternity. And you’re like, well, yeah, I’ve been following Jesus for a while, but I did something really bad yesterday. That’s all right. That once and for all sacrifice has forgiven you. Now, that doesn’t give you permission to sin all the time. It doesn’t give you permission to willfully and actively and continuously disobey God.

I mean, I’ll be honest with you, someone who willfully and actively continuously disobeys God’s probably never been saved, but if you’re truly saved, and you’ve made the decision and you mess up, you’re secure. They’re not going to revoke your “not guilty” plea just because you make a mistake. You have security now today.

Here’s what we do. A lot of people think I got to get to heaven, so I’m just going to be a good person. Every time I sin, I’m just going to do something good. And you’re always doing something good. And you say, well every time I sin, I’m just going to give more money to this charity. They’re trying to earn and buy their way into heaven, but you don’t have to. It’s been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus. The sacrifice, the substitute, and the security that the Lamb provides once and for all is finished. It’s finished.

A wonderful book – The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe. Anybody ever seen the movie? Read the book by CS Lewis? In the climax of the book, Aslan, the great lion, marches to the stone tablet and is murdered by the white witch. The two girls, Lucy and Susan, they cry themselves to sleep, lying at the feet of Aslan, the lion. They’re feeling hopeless, helpless as the evil witch’s army marches to take over Narnia. But then something happens. The rising of the sun made everything look different. All the colors and the shadows were changed. And for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. And then they saw it. They noticed that that stone tablet had been broken into two pieces. There was a great crack that ran down from it end to end, and Aslan was gone.

The two girls cried out, “Oh, no! Oh, no!” rushing back to the table. They were sobbing because they didn’t know where Aslan’s body was at. Like who’s done this? What kind of magic has happened? And then they heard a voice from behind them that said there is a magic that the witch does not know about. There is a shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen before. They saw Aslan alive and well. After the initial shock of seeing Aslan, who was dead and now alive, there was an explanation given. Aslan says that though the witch knew the deep magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked further back into the stillness and the darkness before time began, she would have read there is a different incantation. She would have read or she would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery is killed in a traitor’s death, the table would crack, and death itself would start working backwards.

Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He offered Himself, an unblemished lamb, a perfect, perfect, perfect person. The only person who’s ever lived Who never committed a crime or never did any thought, that never did anything wrong, and He gave Himself up in a traitor’s death on a cross. And yet three days later, He walked out of that tomb conquering death once and for all, so that those of us who decide to follow Him can proudly and boldly stand and say worthy is the Lamb Who was slain for my sins.

This is the testimony of John the Baptist. This is the testimony of every person who has ever decided to follow Jesus – that He took my place. Is it your testimony? Have you said yes to following Jesus? And are you like John the Baptist, shouting from the rooftops, behold, Jesus. He saved me, He can save you.

This morning during our time of invitation, if you need to make a decision today to say yes to Jesus, to say I’m just going to commit my life to Him, He’s going to be the Lord of my life, I’m going to follow Him, would you come and give your life to the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world. Your sins. So that you can have a restored relationship with the Father.

Let’s pray. Father, we thank You for the testimony of John the Baptist. We thank You for the Lamb of God Who was slain to take away the sins of the world. That is the Gospel message – that we are sinful people, separated from God and that You sent the perfect Lamb, the once and for all sacrifice. Where we should have hung on the cross, He hung in our place. Help us to live in that reality and help us to proclaim Jesus as Savior for the world. In Jesus’ Name, amen.