Summary: Shows the Jesus is the Lamb sent to take away the sins of the world (Part of an Advent Series)
"Jesus the Lamb: Advent 4 2001"
December 22nd, 2001
John 1:29-35, The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God." The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"
Jesus is many things to many people. As we have seen this Advent season, we must each decide who Jesus is going to be to us. He is the Prophet of God, come to bring us God’s message of grace and forgiveness. He is our Great High Priest, come to bridge the gap of sin between us and God. He is to the believer the one and only true King, whom we seek, worship and serve. Yes, he is so many things and God leaves to us the decision of what we will call his greatest gift to Creation. We have heard the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have before us the testimony of those who were there to witness the incredible events. The shepherds who were graced with an angelic host proclaiming that a savior had been born in Bethlehem. The Wise Men who followed the heavenly sign of the cross to find a newborn king. The evil king Herod who wanted nothing to do with a heavenly king for fear that his own power would be compromised. The apathetic people of Jerusalem who feared that the Kingdom of God would battle with the kingdoms of this earth. Yes, some rejoiced to hear about the coming of this child named Jesus, some lamented the news, and some had no reaction at all. The decision was theirs to make, and the decision is ours. On this 23rd day of the month of December we have heard the message of Christmas countless times for a new year. Through song, story, and scenery the invitation has been laid before us to receive this heaven-sent king as the king of our life. The decision remains for each of us to renew each day: Will we hear the Word of God? Will we allow the Great High Priest to present our sacrifice to God? Will we serve the King of the universe? All of the heavens await our decision.
But before this season is over, the gifts are unwrapped, the pageants closed with a final bow, and the decorations stored in a box for next year, we have one more name for the child who was born in that manger in David’s city. A lot of times we say "Last, but not least," and the same is true for this final Sunday of Advent. In fact, this last candle represents a case of "Saving the best for last." This last candle reminds us that Jesus came to be the Lamb of God.
This candle is perhaps the most surprising of all the candles. That is not a small thing to say when you consider the incredible nature of Christ’s birth and identity. It is incredible to think that God would break into human history to give us His commands and direction. It is incredible to think that He would call simple, common humans like you, me and Moses to speak for His as He did for the Prophets of the Old Testament. But it is even more incredible to think that He would send His one and only Son to the earth to speak for Him, especially with the message of grace and forgiveness that came from Jesus’ lips. This is the incredible message of Advent.
It is incredible to think that God would want to have a relationship with His fallen Creation. It is incredible to think that no matter how many times we have rejected His word and commands that He would still provide a way through sacrifice and worship to maintain a relationship with Him through human priests offering up sacrifices. But it is even more incredible to think that He would send His own son to provide the ultimate sacrifice for our sins through his own death. This is the incredible message of Advent.