I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” John 1:31 (ESV)
John didn’t know who Jesus was until the Spirit rested on him at the moment of Jesus’ baptism. Before that moment, he identified Jesus as his cousin. Jesus was Aunt Mary’s and Uncle Joseph’s son until the Spirit descended upon Him. It was only after the Spirit made His visible presence at Jesus’ baptism, that John knew without a doubt that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God.
Shouldn’t our baptism have the same impact upon us? Doesn’t our baptism identify us as one in whom the Spirit also lives? Aren’t we also children of God who now claim God as our Father? Our baptism identifies us as one whose sins have been forgiven.We have been “sealed for the day of redemption, with the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 4:30 (NIV) Which means we are sons and daughters of the kingdom, bound for eternal life.
When John calls Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”, that is an expression we really don’t understand. We are so far removed from the Old Testament sacrificial system that its real meaning and significance escapes us.
Every day in the city of Jerusalem a lamb was offered. When the shofar was blown and the throat of the lamb was cut, the blood was flowing and the sacrifice offered. Every single day a lamb was offered at the temple for the sins of the people.
When you turn to the book of Hebrews, you hear phrases like “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” You might read those verses and say “I don’t get it.” But when a Hebrew read those words, he or she understood that death at the expense of the lamb made possible forgiveness for their sins.
So when John writes in chapter 1 verse 29 and 35,
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 (ESV) and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” John 1:36 (ESV)
He is drawing their attention to that sacrifice, but not to the one that took place each day at the Temple. He points to one final sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, which was about to be offered for them and for the world, for all times, in the person of our Lord Jesus, the LAMB of God.
Bear in mind those words reach backward to the beginning of time when sin first entered the world.They reach forward to the end of time and they cover all times in between until time has no end.What these words really mean for us, and for all who believe in Jesus, is this: there is no other sacrifice that needs to be made ever again. For this one man, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was offered once for all.
But now He (Christ) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:26 (NIV)
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 1 Peter 3:18 (NIV)
Gracious God our Father, we praise You that You offered Your Son on the altar of the cross, once for all, that who ever believes may have eternal life. We give You thanks that there is no more need to offer sacrifices ever again. Now we rest assured that the blood of Jesus, the blood of the Lamb, has taken away our sins. Help us, Holy Spirit to share this message of life and salvation with a world still waiting to hear and believe in Jesus’ name. Amen.