Behold the Lamb of God!
by James Smith, 1860
The world needed, and Israel expected, a Deliverer. The types had foreshadowed him, the prophets had predicted his advent, and the poets had prepared hymns to celebrate his coming.
At length an extraordinary person appeared; he was reserved in his manner, stern in his appearance, rather unsociable in his habits, and uncompromising in denouncing sin, and demanding repentance. All who professed to repent, he baptized, and pointed them to the coming One, whose way he was preparing. At length, one day, he saw Jesus of Nazareth coming to him, and pointing with his finger to him, with a loud voice, he cried, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29. God's Lamb is come. The great sacrifice is about to be offered. The needed atonement will now be made. The way into the holiest will be made plain.
Jesus Is God's Lamb.In his nature and character, we may see all the excellent qualities of the Lamb. He is holy--free from all blemish. In him is no defect. He is without sin, and full of grace. His entire nature is pure, and spotless--an offering fit for God. He is meek--none need fear him. Bruised, humbled, and afflicted, he has learned what suffering is, and is now able to sympathize with sufferers. He is not a lion--but a lamb. Who would fear to approach, to touch, or to become familiar with a lamb? He is patient, bearing the opposition and contradiction of sinners, without complaint; and bearing the wrath of God in solemn silence, or with deep submission.
He is the gentle One. He calls a child to him, and makes it his text. He receives children from mothers and relatives, heals and blesses them. He allows children to follow him, proclaim him, and sing hosannas to him. The bruised reed he will not break, the smoking flax he will not quench--nor one applicant for mercy, will he refuse.
As a lamb, he was intended to be a sacrificial victim. He was to die, the just for the unjust. A lamb was to make atonement for sinful human lions, bears, and a generation of vipers. O mystery of mercy! O wondrous love! God required a lamb, whose life was equivalent to all the lives that had been forfeited by sin. He demanded blood, worth all the blood that had been or would be shed. The victim he required could not be found, therefore he promised to provide one. On that promise, the hope of all believers hung. On that promise, the faith of all that were saved was built.
God himself was to provide a lamb. That lamb was to be put to death. The putting to death of that lamb, was to atone for, and put away sin. That lamb was to be an all-sufficient sacrifice for sin, an infinite atonement for transgression. The lamb promised, was now provided. John saw him, pointed him out, and directed his hearers to him, crying with a loud voice, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"
That lamb was sacrificed, was sacrificed for us, and is now presented to us, is now placed before us. He is evidently and clearly set forth, as though he was crucified among us. He is man's accepted substitute. He is God's obedient servant. He is the sacrifice to satisfy God's justice for man's sin. He is God's Son, who did his Father's will; by which all believers are sanctified, by the offering of his precious body once. The Lamb is God--God in our nature--God with us--God in our place--God atoning for our sin--God putting away our sins by the sacrifice of himself! O mystery of mysteries! O wonder of wonders! Let us,
Behold the Lamb of God!He is set forth for this end. He is presented to us for this purpose. The gospel places him before the sinner's eye, and keeps him there, as God's only ordinance of salvation, and cries, "Look and be saved! Look and be saved, all you ends of the earth!" Let us then fix the mind on Jesus, and keep it fixed there. Let us make him the daily, hourly object of our faith. Life comes by looking. Peace comes by looking. Joy in the Lord comes by looking. In a word, looking to Jesus as dying for our sins, in our stead--will . . .
Let us behold the Lamb--and trust in his blood alone, for the present, complete, and everlasting pardon of all our sins.
Let us behold the Lamb--and love him for taking our nature, that he might save our souls.
Let us behold the Lamb--and make use of him to remove our guilt, banish our fears, and deliver us from the dread of death.
Let us behold the Lamb--and recommend him to all around us, as able to save to the uttermost, and as willing to save them, if they are willing to be saved by him.
"Behold the Lamb of God!" beloved reader, for God bids you, and commands you to believe on his name. Behold the Lamb of God, for it will greatly benefit you, and always benefit you too. Behold the Lamb of God, for it will please the Father if you do--he takes an infinite delight in his beloved Son--and he wishes us to take a delight in him also. Behold the Lamb of God, for in so doing you will be enabled to conquer Satan, overcome the world, and surmount the fear of death.
By this we conquer, namely, "Looking unto Jesus."
Let us therefore look to him . . .
in life, and all its joys;
in sickness, and all its pains;
in adversity, with all its sorrows;
and in death, with all its agonies.
Behold the lamb of God!