“And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34). Think of all John saw and all that he called upon men to see. John saw a Man standing by the banks of Jordan who did not need to confess failure and flaws. Multitudes had come out to the Jordan to be baptized and confess their sin. In contrast, John heard heaven confess that this was the Son of God in Whom a Father found all His delight. He saw the Spirit of God in dove-like fashion descend and abide upon Him. He saw the clear unmistakable confirmation that this was the Son of God.
As a result, John called upon men on two occasions to behold Him. On the first day, it was to behold the Lamb of God’s providing, the Sin bearer for the world. Throughout the history of the nation of Israel, men had brought their lambs to altars. Each man was confessing a defect, a deficiency within himself as he approached with his lamb. But now, in stark contrast, God was bringing His Lamb to men. Here was God’s Lamb that measured up to the demands of the altar: a Lamb without blemish and without spot. The words which pierced the sky that day attested not only to His outward righteousness, but “in Whom is all My delight.” The all-penetrating eye of God could pierce the exterior and look within. No need for this Lamb to be flayed for God to see the inner perfections. All His thoughts, motives, inward affections were all open for His Father to see, and to evaluate. The result was only delight.
As God’s Lamb, He came to deal with sin. That is where we all began. We looked upon God’s Lamb as the solution to our sin pollution. We often sing,
“I saw One hanging on the tree
In agony and blood”
Our experiences all differ; the road to the cross for each of us was unique and individual to our own lives. But ultimately, we all arrived at a Savior Who dealt with the issue of sin, our sins, against the throne of God.
John, however, was not content that his disciples only have that first look. He called upon them, once again, the very next day, to “Behold the Lamb!” Now, it is not as the sin-bearer, but as the object of our attention. John looked upon Him as He walked (v 36) and called upon those who had been following him to set their gaze upon the Lord Jesus. It would be a profitable study to go through the Gospel of John and notice the places where the Lord Jesus “walked” (see ch 4:4; 6:19, 66; 7:1; 10:23; 11:54). His was a lonely walk while here on earth.
The purpose of this writing, however, is more to occupy you with the Person of Christ and to urge all of us to make it our goal to “Behold the Lamb,” to look upon Him daily in the Gospels and to appreciate Him increasingly in our lives.
As we think of places where the lamb is found in various references of Scripture, it enhances the value of Him to our souls. First and foremost, we must remember that He was the Lamb “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet 1:20). In the heart of God eternally, there was this great plan of salvation for us. To accomplish it, the One Who shared glory before the world was (John 17:5), and Who was loved by the Father before the world was (John 17:24), is now set apart, before the world was, to be my Lamb.
Next, the lamb was found among the flock. He, in like manner took flesh and blood and dwelt among us. He came to where we were. He took true human nature, but not fallen human nature. As we look at His life, His movements among men, we trace the purity of His motives, the selflessness of His manner, the gentleness of the means He would employ in His service to men. We see a Lamb whose head and energy were pure – His mind and His movements; We see a Lamb whose inward parts and legs are spotless and flawless – His motives and His manner all open for the delight of the eye and heart of God.
But the Lamb in the flock did not meet our need. The next place the lamb was found was in the fire (Ex 12). It had to experience the judgment as typified in the fire. It could not be soddened with water on that Passover occasion. Nothing was to come between the lamb and the fire. He endured the fire of divine judgment for us all.
To our great delight, we read of the Lamb in the future. The book of Revelation is full of the glory of the Lamb in the coming day. We read of the Throne of the Lamb, of the Lamb being the light of that temple above. We see the Lamb as the Leader of Praise but also as the object of our worship and universal admiration. He is worthy of all. In that day, all of the glory of God will be displayed in a Man Who will eternally have a Lamb-like character and be remembered by us as the Lamb once slain.
What of the present? The Lamb should be our food, what we feast upon. The nation of Israel observed the Passover three different times during their journey from Egypt to Canaan: in leaving Egypt behind, in living in a wilderness scene (Num 9), and in preparation for conquering the land (Josh 5:10). In a similar manner, we need to feed upon Christ to live apart from an evil world, to feed upon Him for all the trials of the way, and then to enjoy the fulness of divine blessings which God has given to us.