We’ve been looking at the names of God and how they help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘The Lamb of God’, which is used to refer to the second person of the trinity: God the Son.
John the Baptist uses the title, ‘The Lamb of God’, to refer to Jesus. The Bible tells us John the Baptist’s comments about Jesus. In reply to the Jews he said: ‘”I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” 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 1:26-36).
The Apostle John also regularly refers to Jesus as ‘the Lamb’ in his book of Revelation.
But what does the name mean? The title ‘Lamb of God’, tells us many things, but most obviously it refers to the sacrifice that Jesus paid for sinners.
The God’s law in the Old Testament taught that lambs were to be sacrificed daily for sin: ‘This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight’ (Exodus 29:38-39). Also at the time of the Passover, Jews were required to eat part of a lamb sacrifice to commemorate their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Lambs were thus associated with atonement for sin. Lambs were killed so that God wouldn’t kill humans for their rebellion.
Thus, Christ’s name, ‘The Lamb of God’, tells us that Jesus paid for his people’s rebellion by his death in their place. John the Baptist himself indicates this when he said: ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29). The Apostle Peter also says: ‘For you know that it was not with 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’ (1 Peter 1:18-19).
So if you want to avoid being punished for your sins, Jesus must pay the penalty you deserve by his death. There is no other way. John didn’t say ‘Look, one of the lambs who takes away the sin of the world’. He said ‘The’ Lamb.
But how can you have Jesus pay for your sin? Turn from your sins and believe that he has died for you. If you do, ‘The Lamb of God’ has taken away your sin. Joel Radford