Summary: Jesus came to make spiritually healthy.
The Lamb of God
Text: John 1:29-34
1. Illustration: Dr. H.A. Ironside once shared a story that was the clearest illustration of the Gospel I have ever heard. He said that he was visiting in South Texas and had the opportunity to visit a sheep ranch. While he was there, he spotted what he thought to be a two-headed lamb. He asked the foreman of the ranch, "Why in the world does that lamb have two heads?" The foreman smiled and said, "You are a city slicker. Let me explain what we did. The other day we had two ewes who gave birth to lambs. One of the ewes died in childbirth and one of the lambs died, also. We took the living lamb and put it in the pen with the living ewe to see if she would nurse. She smelled of the lamb and walked away. It wasn’t her own." "What did you do?" Ironside asked. "Well, we took the coat off of the dead lamb and wrapped it around the living one and put it back in the pen. When the mother smelled the blood of her very own lamb......she accepted the little lamb and began to nurse." Dr. Ironside said, "Thank you for sharing with me the greatest picture of the Cross I have ever seen. For without Christ, I am hopeless for eternity. God will not accept me into Heaven on my own works. But, when I stand before Him covered in the blood of His own Son, Jesus........He accepts me and allows me to be part of His family!"
2. So far in our study of John's Gospel we have focused on who Jesus is and that he came to earth
3. Now we are going to look at why Jesus came...
a. To take away sin
b. Baptize with the Holy Spirit
Proposition: Jesus came to make spiritually healthy.
Transition: First, Jesus came...
I. To Take Away Sin (29-31).
A. Takes Away Sin
1. After being interrogated by the religious leaders the day before John the Baptist went right back to work.
2. In v. 29 it says, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
a. "The next day" speaks of the day following the delegation's inquiry.
b. "Look the Lamb of God" is a forceful declaration.
d. Any Jew would connect a lamb (especially the word used here which speaks of a sacrificial lamb without blemish) with the Passover.
e. In addition, lambs were used in the daily sacrifices at the temple, and lambs without blemish were sacrificed as guilt offering (The Complete Biblical Library – John, 33).
f. The verb "takes away" conveys the notion of bearing off.
g. It is perhaps not specific enough to point to any one particular means of atonement, but it does signify atonement, and that by substitution.
h. "Jesus bears the consequence of human sin in order that its guilt may be removed" (Hoskyns). It is removed completely, carried right off.
i. John speaks of sin, not sins. He is referring to the totality of the world's sin rather than to a number of individual acts.
j. The expression "the sin of the world" does not appear to have been used prior to this passage.
k. The reference to "the world" is another glance at the comprehensiveness of Christ's atonement. It is completely adequate for the need of all people.
l. Right at the beginning of his Gospel John points us forward to the cross and to the significance of the cross (Morris, The New International Commentary on the New Testament – The Gospel According to John, 130).
3. John then continues his pronouncement of Jesus by saying, "He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’"
a. "He is the one" refers to the prior verses. The Baptist had been explaining the chief work of Jesus.
b. When he saw Jesus coming, he lifted his voice and cried, "He is the one!" (The Complete Biblical Library – John, 33).
c. While the Christology of this Gospel is of the highest order, the writer never loses sight of Jesus' manhood.
d. Before leaving this verse we should perhaps also notice that, though the Baptist says he is quoting words he spoke on a previous occasion, there is no record of that occasion in this Gospel (Morris, 131).
e. We should also notice something else. Although John the Baptist was a well-known preacher who attracted large crowds, he was content that Jesus take the higher place.