As we enter into another “holiday” season, we are once again confronted with the gap that exists between those who celebrate a holiday and those who worship Jesus Christ, The Lamb of God. If you were to poll the average Christmas shopper about what Christmas means to them, you would more times than not hear that it is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. They may mention that it’s all about family and giving and being cheerful. All of which are certainly an integral part of Christmas. But may we as evangelical Christians be bold in proclaiming that Jesus Christ was sent into the world to die for our sin, that we would find forgiveness of sin and deliverance from living a life of sin (John 3:14-20; Titus 2:11-15).
Philippians 2.8-11 is where we get the theme for our 2013 Christmas Series, “Jesus, the Name above all Names”. It reads this way.
- He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- It is my prayer that every knee would bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God The Father.
- May God be glorified in and through the preaching of His Word. May any who have yet to trust Christ alone for salvation be born of The Spirit into the kingdom by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Our first Name of Jesus is, Jesus, The Lamb of God.
Behold, The Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sin of the world. John 1.29
- Jesus is The Lamb of God Who was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13.8). Jesus has always been the One and only way of salvation.
- Evidently the main aspect in which we are to view our Divine Lord, is in His sacrificial character. “The Lamb as it had been slain” must be beheld both here and hereafter, in this world and in throughout all eternity.
- Exodus 12.3-7 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
- This lamb was to be without blemish. Also note that the progression from a lamb, to the lamb to your lamb. When God saw the blood of the lamb placed upon the 2 side posts and the upper door posts, He said He would He would pass over you. Instead of inflicting wrath that they deserved, God granted mercy and deliverance to them because of the power that was in the blood of The Lamb.
The entire book of Leviticus is a book of redemption by grace through faith in the sacrifice of an innocent animal, slain on my behalf. The Bible is a message of redemption.
- Leviticus 17.11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
- This Hebrew word for atonement here can also be translated to cover, purge, make reconciliation.
- A very interesting use of this Hebrew word is found in Genesis 6.14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch (H3722, cover over with pitch) it within and without with pitch.
- Because of the application of the pitch on Noah’s ark, the boat was kept afloat and spared from sinking during the time of the flood judgment. Likewise beloved, when the blood of Jesus Christ is applied to your soul by faith, the judgment and wrath of God is propitiated and you are legally declared right before God. That is good news.
Back to our verse in John 1.29, John is witnessing to the central reason for the incarnation of The Lord Jesus Christ. To take away the sin of the world.
- Unfortunately, this verse is so familiar to us in our day and age that it doesn’t shock us, but it should. That was a radical thing for John to say about a young Galilean carpenter to a bunch of Jewish people who for centuries had offered their sacrificial lambs at the temple. What all of those centuries of sacrificial lambs symbolized, Jesus has come to fulfill, once and for all, taking away the sin of the world. This is clearly described in the book of Hebrews.
- Jesus was able to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world because he was the God-man. The Word became flesh (1:14).
- No sooner did Adam and Eve sin in the Garden of Eden, and God presents us with this incredible promise and prophecy of the virgin birth of The Lord Jesus Christ.
- Genesis 3.15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed (the devil) and her seed (the woman); it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
In 1 John 3:5: “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” The reason why the Son of God appeared—the reason the Word became flesh—was to take away sin.
- Why did John add in 1 John 3:5, “And in him there was no sin”? Because the lambs that were offered in sacrifice to take away sin in the Old Testament had to be spotless, without blemish. Listen to what the law demanded:
- Leviticus 4.32-35 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar: And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him
- However, we read in the book of Hebrews that the blood of animals cannot really take away sin (Hebrews 10:4). That whole system was pointing forward to what would happen someday in a final sacrifice for sin. And John is saying: It’s happening now. God is sending his own Lamb into the world to take away sin, once and for all.
When Peter describes how Jesus Christ redeems us from our sin, he writes 1 Peter 1.18-21 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
- It is abundantly clear in Scripture that no mere man can redeem us from our sin. Sinners cannot redeem sinners. Pastors cannot redeem you. Priests cannot redeem you. Mary cannot redeem you. Angels cannot redeem you. Denominations cannot redeem you.
- Please note that John He doesn’t say, “Look at your good works; they will save you.” He doesn’t say, “Look at your religious rituals; they will put you in good stead on judgment day.” He doesn’t say, “Look at your religious heritage or your church attendance.” He says, “Look to the Lamb of God!” Jesus saves sinners who look in faith to Him.
But look a bit deeper into exactly Who this Jesus is? Look at John 1.23 I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias
John is quoting from Isa 40.3-5 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it
- In Isaiah 40.3 “the LORD” in Hebrew refers to Yahweh, Jehovah, the God who is the Creator and Ruler of the world, and the Covenant God of Israel. Now here is John the Baptist saying that he is that voice crying in the wilderness, and the Lord whose way he is preparing is Jesus Christ. In other words, the man coming after me is preferred before me because Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament—only now He is man as well as God.
- Every man born in the ordinary way is a sinner. And sinners can’t take away the sins of sinners. But Jesus was not born in the ordinary way. He was not born of two humans. He was the God-man because God ordained that the way the Word would become flesh would through a virgin birth.
- Luke 1.35 reads The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. The Scriptures take great care to reveal the importance of Jesus sinless nature, because ultimately it is tied in with our redemption.
All of this talk about the sinless nature and deity of Jesus Christ is behind the words of John, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”? It meant two shocking things for the Jews—and both of them are relevant for us today.
- First, it meant that the God-man would die. And not just die, but die like a lamb dies—be slaughtered (see the Greek sphazō in Revelation 5:6, 9, 12; 13:8).
- Second, it meant that the whole world would benefit from His sacrificial death, and not just Jews. This God-man was the Jewish Messiah (see John 1:41). But his death would take away the sin of the world, not just the sin of Israel.
- The Lamb of God” means that Jesus is the final Lamb and the only Lamb that God has provided to take away our sins. There is no other. Takes away” signifies “atonement, and that by substitution”. He was made sin for us Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).
- The phrase takes away in the Greek is in the present tense which means that he ongoing sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice and the fact that it is available at all times for every sinner who will trust in Him.
John put it another way in his first letter: “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
- Propitiation means that his death removes the wrath of God because it takes away sin. That’s what propitiation means. The Lamb takes away sin and removes God’s wrath, not just for Jews but for Gentiles scattered among all nations. “By your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe ” (Revelation 5:9).
- Speaking of the Messiah, Isaiah uses the terms of a sacrificial lamb in Isa.53, “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, & as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
- John is declaring then, Jesus is the true sacrificial lamb for the Passover. 1 Cor. 5:7 For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Christ dying for sinners and for the sin of the world is the gospel. But the atonement of Jesus Christ is not to be interpreted as meaning universalism.
- John 3.36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
- Atonement sufficient for all is not atonement applied to all unless they repent of their sin and believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for their sin.
- Until a person is born again, the wrath of God abides upon them. That wrath can only be removed by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. He died so that sinners who repent of their sin and trust in Him will not incur God’s judgment.
- There is no race, no nationality, no ethnicity, no socio-economic status excluded. To as many as receive him, who believe on his name (John 1:12), their sins are taken away (John 1:29; 1 John 3:5) and the wrath of God is removed (John 3:36; 1 John 2:2) and they are made the children of God (John 1:12) and given eternal life (John 3:16).
Jesus: Our Lamb and Our Lord. Everyone in this room is a sinner deserving of God’s wrath. To make the way for us to be saved, God The Father sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to live a perfect divine-human life. And die an obedient death. In this way Jesus Christ became both the substitute punishment for our sins (Matt 26.28; 1 Cor 15.3; 1 Peter 3.18) and the substitute performer of our righteousness (Rom 5.19; 10.4; 2 Cor 5.21; Phil 3.9).
Therefore, in the courtroom of heaven, when I repent of my sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord of my life, my debt of sin is removed by His blood (Eph 1.7) and His righteousness is imputed unto me (Rom 5.19).
Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him Who sits on the throne Father), and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Rev. 5:13b