Look, The Lamb

John 1:35-42

Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ And they said to Him, ‘Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.’ They came therefore and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).

More evidence of John the Baptist’s frontrunner status; after hearing John speak about Jesus and declaring him the “Lamb of God,” two of John’s disciples followed Jesus to the place where he was staying. One of them was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter.

Notice that John assumed that the reader of his gospel account would have been already familiar with Peter. “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.” We will not jump to any conclusions concerning this other than the obvious–John seams to be writing to people who have heard at least a minimum of the details concerning the gospel story.

We also notice that John the Baptist repeatedly refered to Jesus as the lamb of God. Because of this, Andrew followed Jesus and found his brother to tell him that they had found the Messiah. Finding the Messiah is also a theme early on in John the apostle’s gospel account. A little further in the account we read; “The next day He purposed to go forth into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Philip ‘said to him, ‘Come and see.'”

Two things: Jesus was the Messiah and people were expecting the Messiah. Why would they be looking for the Messiah at this particular moment in their history? Because Daniel recorded the following: “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Jesus came at the exact time, on time, as promised. Daniel all but told the day and Malachi and Isaiah foretold the frontrunner. John was evidence that the Messiah had come, again, right on time.

The strange thing is John’s vocabulary; “Behold the Lamb of God.” Where in the Old Testament tutor do we read of the Messiah being called a literal lamb? I’ll save you the trouble of exploring examples, we don’t. And yet the lamb is one of the most glaring themes in the Old Testament, much like finding the Messiah in John chapter one. That’s right, we utilize the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics, where; context is king, author’s aspirations to his audience are apex, genre is the general, expository exegesis of examples enlightens and dividing rightly the word of truth either confirms or cancels our preconceived notions and presuppositions.

We have been indoctrinated in our western, evangelical churches, much like our friends on the left have been indoctrinated into social Marxism and worse, Marxism. To everyone everywhere; context is king and unless you are learning for yourself, you only know what you have been taught.The prophets promised a king, a ruler, land, victory but also a curse and desolation.To this very day, prophecy pundits point to land promises rather than the sacrifice made in our stead– remarkable! Literally! Therefore let me remark; would you rather have your sins forgiven and an incorruptible, eternal dwelling or a sliver of sand in the middle east?

‏‏John the apostle chooses to highlight John the Baptist’s words of “The Lamb of God,” after establishing Jesus as God. Matthew focuses on the Messiah being True Israel and Luke focuses on redemptive history, and humanity–these are some of the themes we see within the gospel accounts. John though, has the greatest juxtaposition of Jesus in only a few short “verses.” (John didn’t write in chapter and verse but since that is how we read it, I will acquiesce to the sentiments and sediment soaked in our psyches.) Within a few short sentences, John has Jesus as the creator of the universe and the sacrificial atonement. We are forced to examine examples. We have to apply optics to our Old Testament tutor. While the coming Messiah was never called the lamb of God in the Old Testament, the theme of the lamb leaps off the pages of the Old Testament. As always, therein lies the problem. God is grand, victorious, set apart, and yet John has the God of the universe coming as a lamb–pretty pathetic to put it plainly, at least in the minds of the Pharisees and prophecy pundits.

Because this is not only what apostate Israel missed but also what western, evangelical christianity has missed. Jesus laid aside his majesty, to be sure, yet he didn’t cease to be the creator, the divine, the God of the universe. Jesus came with no “stately form” but “humbled himself, taking on the form of a bond-servant.” Nevertheless the form fits the function but it isn’t the only attribute of Jesus. The sacrificial lamb wasn’t even described as an an attribute of the Messiah in the Old Testament, literally that is, but from the very beginning the types and shadows promised the Sacrificial Lamb of God. 

“And the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly shall you go, And dust shall you eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.'” 

While we don’t see the lamb or the sacrifice, necessarily, we do see the allusion to what was to come. The seed of the woman would come to triumph over the serpent. Jesus would conquer the devil and this begins to develop in distinction as the reader continues on in Genesis and reads about Abraham and Isaac. 

“Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.’ And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ And he said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ And Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there, and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ And he said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.'”

Theologically there is more than meets the eye in this passage but boiling it all down, we see that the Lord will provide the sacrifice. Clearly is the picture painted of the Lord providing the sacrificial lamb. This theme in John’s gospel account continues in the Old Testament. 

In Exodus we read; “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, ‘Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and capply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.” 

The Passover pointed to Jesus as the sacrificial lamb. We see this also in the New Testament as Jesus celebrated the penultimate Passover with his disciples on the very night in which he was betrayed. Nevertheless, Jesus himself was the true Passover Lamb. John the Baptist pointed out Jesus as the Lamb and Andrew followed Jesus and brought along his brother. 

While most people were expecting a vengeful king and in other accounts John the Baptist portrayed Jesus as such, but also as “the Lamb of God.” I believe that this is why John the apostle wrote his gospel account. John absolutely asserted that Jesus was God and the Lamb of God like no other gospel writer. Two major themes from the very beginning until the very end are the deity of Christ and the sacrificial nature of his coming. All the gospel writers tell about Jesus but they focus on different angles and attributes, as do the Law and prophets. 

Isaiah is the prophet who came the closest to painting the picture of the Lamb of God. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” 

Yet this is a simile to point to the meekness  and humility of Jesus. However with the context considered, one can clearly see the sacrifice that was to be made, especially in retrospect. They, whomever they are, say that hindsight is 20/20. But foreshadowing foresight was better than 20/20– it simply neither fit their narrative nor the narrative of the prophecy pundits. 

I keep hearing about the future millenial kingdom where the lion will lay down with the lamb. Ironically enough, Jesus was the Lion and the Lamb and Scripture never says this. We have so completely twisted Scripture, like the Pharisees, that we no longer know how it reads. Literally the prophecy pundits proclaim that Scripture tells us that the lion will lay down with the lamb. Problem; it doesn’t. We place the proverbial cart before the horse when we preach our preconceived notions and presuppositions before the actual, literal Scripture. 

In the United States we have seen it done to our constitution and cry foul, then we do the exact same thing to Scripture. We rip verses, which were never intended to stand alone, out of context and string them together to create our own narrative based upon the precepts of men. As we need to let the constitution define the constitution, we need to let Scripture interpret Scripture. No prophecy ever proclaimed, literally, the coming Messiah as a lamb and yet the whole of Scripture points to this.

We have to reexamine what John the Baptist has said about the Lamb of God. What was John the Baptist’s claim concerning “The Lamb of God?” That he would ultimately give the Israel over to the devil? That his church wouldn’t prevail against the gates of hell? That after his earthly ministry he would ascend to heaven to await a time when sin fills the earth? No, the Lamb of God came to take “away the sins of the world.” Why do we act contrary to this sentiment? 

Look at the Lamb in Leviticus, and then in Hebrews. Jesus was the lamb, the land, the tabernacle, the temple, the Law and the prophets. Reread the Bible without presuppositions and dubious dogma and see Jesus as the sublime string woven throughout the Scripture. 

 

 

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