Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 1:29a AThe next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him . . .@
John=s temptation is past. The leaders gave him ample opportunity to promote himself as Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet. John=s reward for passing the test was to see Jesus the next day.
This is possibly Jesus= second trip to John, immediately following Jesus= wilderness temptation. It was fitting Jesus= public ministry began with an announcement from His forerunner. Jesus= first trip to John was for baptism; this trip for commissioning.
John 1:29b AAnd saith, behold . . .@
John is still pointing to Jesus. It=s almost monotonous. John=s sermon was short, but full of Jesus. Christ is all that matters. To see everything in life but the Lamb of God is to see everything in life but the one thing worth seeing (Parker).
John ran before and pointed to Jesus. We who run after must point to the same Person. If people see nothing else in us, let them see Jesus. Fill your life with Him. Spread Him abroad. Keep talking about Jesus. Never did monotony yield so much variety.
John 1:29c AThe Lamb of God . . .@
A lamb, the principal animal of sacrifice among Jews, epitomized substitutionary suffering endured with gentleness, meekness, and innocence. A lamb bespoke sweetness, harmlessness, patience. Sadly, these are virtues people rarely admire. For some demonic reason we exonerate brute strength and self-seeking manliness. Lamb-like virtues are never much admired. The world=s first lamb-like son was murdered by his own brother. Jesus suffered a similar fate.
Jesus= death, which looked like weakness, proved to be strength. In Revelation 5:6 John saw in heaven Aa Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes.@ This Lamb which had looked weak was pictured as having great power (horns) and keeping ceaseless vigilance (eyes) over God=s people.
Why was this Lamb powerful? He was God=s Lamb, appointed, approved, and empowered by the Father.
At Calvary our High Priest Himself became the victim. Other conquerors and rulers paved their roads to power with the blood of others. Their kingdoms are gone. Jesus paved His road with His own blood. His kingdom continues to grow, reaching to the ends of the earth.
John 1:29d ATaketh away the sin . . .@
Jesus came to take away sin, not sinners. God could have taken away sin by removing sinners, as He did in Noah=s day. By one stroke of His lightning He could take away sinners. To take away sin required the blood of His heart. It is easy to destroy. Only God can ultimately redeem, finding a way to abolish sin without destroying sinners.
Jesus= mission was to take away what offended God=s holiness and destroyed human happiness. His primary concern was sin, not social reform. Social cures are good, but are often merely bottles of cold water poured into Vesuvius. Unless sin is removed, old miseries repeatedly appear again.
Jesus came to fight sin. AHe was manifested to take away our sins@ (I John 3:5). AChrist Jesus came into the world to save sinners@ (I Timothy 1:15).
How does He fight sin? By taking it away. The Greek verb means to lift up and then remove, as one lifts a burden and conveys it away. Jesus removes sin=s enslaving power. We don=t have to be bound by sin unless we choose to be. Other gods claim to pardon, but Jesus not only pardons. He carries away sin.
Where did He take it? He took sin into Himself, killed it on the cross, and buried it with Himself in the tomb. He who knew no sin became sin. This explains the cry of union joined with separation, AMy God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?@
It also explains the agony of Gethsemane. AThe whole mass of human transgression was bound together, in one black and awful bundle, and laid upon the unshrinking shoulders of this better Atlas who can bear it all, and bear it all away@ (Maclaren).
Notice Ataketh away@ denotes not only a single act, but a continual act. Jesus is still doing this work. Jesus came to take sin away. Let yours go. Christ acts in love. Sin is cancerous. Believe these truths, and let sin go.
John 1:29e A . . . of the world@
Other sacrifices had been limited to the nation or to the individual, but the heart of Jesus cannot be narrow. In times of trouble a father says, ASave the family,@ a preacher says, ASave the church,@ a citizen says, ASave the town,@ a teacher says, ASave the school,@ a patriot says, ASave the country.@ Jesus says, ASave the world.@
He commanded us to preach the Gospel to every creature because He has provided for every creature. People everywhere need what Christ alone can offer.
Almost every culture everywhere in every part of history, has borne witness to the fact people need a Savior. Individuals have always felt guilty before God, and consciously known their sins need to be dealt with. In most cultures an innocent creature or person was sacrificed for the guilty. This universal use of sacrifice shows people sense something is wrong between themselves and God.
People still feel a need to be right with God, but seek peace in wrong ways. The religious look to good works or church membership. The rich point to wealth, the Pharisee to himself, the young to pleasure. A philosopher points to God=s goodness and scoffs at punishment. None of these fill the bill. People continue to seek ways to squelch their God-given inner awareness that something is wrong.
The only way to end the nagging is to turn our sin over to someone who will carry it away. AHe bears the sins of the world, and in that awful load are yours and mine@ (Maclaren).