John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Sometimes we can shuffle through life, either with our head in the clouds, or looking at our feet. You might not see much, but often you get by, and no serious accidents happen, that is, as long as you are walking. Driving is another story, and paying attention can prevent accidents. And its not just the driver who is paying attention, often the passengers are watching as well. You never know when a hazard will appear, or when a deer will jump out of the ditch and in front of your car.
Behold – Sometimes we need to get someone’s attention, there is something important to see. What do you say, Hey Look! or: Look Out! perhaps: Watch It! And sometimes you need to tell people before it happens: saying, I think you just past our turn off – would be more helpful if comes in time to make the turn. Behold, is a very special sort of thing that says This is really important!
So, when is the last time you heard someone saying: Behold, the Lamb. It is not usual for little lambs to jump out in front of a car, we may see them in a field, cute, but basically irrelevant to the task of navigating this life. After all, what can a lamb do? While it may not be part of our lives, it should be part of our memory: that there are 2 Old Testament lambs and 1 New Testament lamb.
When Abraham was called by God to sacrifice his only son, God spared the son, and provided a substitute, a lamb caught in a thicket, it became the sacrifice. And when the last plague was about to hit Egypt, again a lamb is sacrificed, and his blood marks the houses where the people of God wait, and the Angel of Death, seeing the blood of the lamb, passes over those houses, and they are spared – and we call this Passover. In the New Testament, Jesus is the Passover lamb, the Lamb of God, and he takes away the sins of the world by his sacrifice, he suffers and dies on the cross, to free us from the power of sin, to loose us from the bonds of death, and to give us a victory over the devil himself. The Lamb of God dies, to pay the debt we own on account of our sins, and to take away our guilt and shame.
Some people may believe that they are without guilt and shame, and that their sins are not really so bad – but they are only fooling themselves. Sin is always bad. The wages of sin is always death, and we cannot free ourselves from guilt and shame, not by ourselves, not by our reason or strength, and we cannot make peace with God. Sin is always bad, and we are all sinners – that is why if we would ever hear – "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." We would come to him, for we know our sins, and we want them taken away.
The hard part, is that it is a lamb. We tend to think of lamb as innocent, and it bothers us that the innocent should suffer for the guilty – and it is good that this bothers us, for it helps us to resist temptations to sin – every time we see the lamb, and we know he is going to suffer for what we have done, it hurts, it makes us feel guilty for even considering the temptation. But most of all it helps us to turn from the temptation and turn to God.
And if the lamb works with us, once we understand. Still it is hard to explain it to the world. For we live in a world where the only person who can free us from the wicked villain is a super-hero, and a lamb seems an unlikely super-hero. And if it comes to removing stuff, if its hard to remove, you need something with industrial strength, and a lamb just doesn’t fit the picture. It may appear that this is foolishness to the world, but never the less, this is the wisdom of God, and the power of God, that our salvation should come by means of the suffering and death of the Lamb of God. This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Which means this news is not just for us, but for all. For the power of God to salvation is more important that all this world’s wisdom – we have been called to help everyone see, the Lamb, Jesus, our Savior.