John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River when, to his surprise, Jesus showed up. The actual wording of the text states, “the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.'” John 1:29 Later in verse thirty-five we have these words, “the next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘look, the Lamb of God.'” John’s two disciples leave him and go to Jesus. One of the men was Andrew and the first thing he did was go find his brother Peter and tell him the good news, “‘We have found the Messiah'” (that is the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.” John 1:41
John the Baptist is the first person in the New Testament to use the title “Lamb of God” for Jesus. There were numerous connotations associated with the term for the Jewish people, and they all had to do with their history. For example, Abel brought the first born of his flock for sacrifice, and Abraham found the lamb that would become the sacrifice instead of his own son. The Tabernacle service in the Wilderness, and of course the Temple services, all pointed to a true Lamb of God that would come as Savior of the world. And now John is saying Jesus is that Lamb, the perfect sacrifice and the Messiah that Israel had longed for and celebrated through their sacrificial system. What I love about this verse is that John doesn’t just say, here is the Lamb of God, but rather he adds, “who takes away the sin of the world”, so no one will miss the point.
The writer of Hebrews, while talking about Jesus writes, “But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9: 26b-28 Peter makes it absolutely clear regarding the atoning death of Jesus, “For you know that it was not perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:18-21
Do you notice a theme that runs through these verses? It is Jesus who paid the price of redemption and takes away the sins of the world. This sacrifice of the Innocent for our rebellion and sin is a free gift offered to us by the grace and love of God. We accept that Jesus is our substitute, and through Him we enter into a relationship with God the Father. There is nothing we can possibly do or say that can add one single drop of merit towards our salvation; it is free.
It’s no wonder that Andrew ran home and got his brother and brought him back to meet Jesus. That was the most important thing he could ever do. And it is no wonder the praises of the redeemed and angels cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb, Who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise.” Revelation 5: 12