The Lamb of God

John 1: 29-34
1 Jn 2:29 – 3:6 / Psa 98

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
(John 1:29)

John came to testify to Jesus
Through Whom God’s Spirit was revealed.
All of us are called to witness
That God’s kingdom soon will be fulfilled.

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.” (John 1: 29-34)

Reflection

Why did John the Baptist refer to Jesus as the “Lamb of God”? As God’s prophet, St. John was inspired by the Holy Spirit to make this pronouncement. We find three images of the lamb in the Bible. The first is in the Book of Exodus (chap.12), when the “Passover” was first instituted by Yahweh, and the Israelites smeared the blood of sacrificial lambs on their door posts and lintels so that the angel of death would “pass over” their households and spare their first-born. The death of all the first born children of the Egyptians was the last ‘plague’ that finally convinced Pharaoh to grant the Israelites their freedom. The paschal lamb therefore symbolized the liberation of the Jews from their yoke of slavery in Egypt. It is no coincidence that Jesus offered His Body and Blood during the Passover celebration.

The second image of the lamb we find in the prophecy of Isaiah, where he described the “Sacrificial Lamb” as an offering for man’s sins: “Though He was harshly treated, He submitted and opened not His mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter… smitten for the sin of His people” (Isa 53:7,8). Finally, the Apocalyptic Lamb reigns victorious in the book of Revelation, where “the four living creatures and the 24 elders” bowed down before the Lamb, and sang His praises: “Worthy are you to receive the scrolls and to break open its seals, for you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation” (Rev 5:9).

We look up to Jesus both as our Shepherd and as a Lamb, gentle and meek, obedient until death. He was the Model of all the saints and martyrs of the Church. Let Him be our ideal too, as we try to lead others in the path of love, hope and peace, and at the same time be obedient and humble in dealing with others. The greatest men and women in history were not honored for their power or wealth; it was for their advocacy for charity and peace. Men and women like Gandhi, Henry Dunant, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, former President Jimmy Carter, Pope John Paul II, Aung Sang Suu Kyi of Burma, and many others. Some of these great men and women were not even Christians, but they achieved greatness because charity lived in their hearts. St. Robert Bellarmine, SJ stated it so aptly when he said, “Charity is that with which no man is lost, and without which no man is saved.” May the love of the Lamb be the guiding light of our life forever.

We praise and worship You, O Lord, our God, for You have given us Your Son Jesus Christ to be our Redeemer, our Shepherd, and our Model in forming our lives according to Your will. We thank You also for St. John the Baptist, who pointed Him out to us as Your Lamb, Whose blood would be shed for our salvation. Finally, we thank You Father God for the wisdom that Your Holy Spirit has gifted us, so that we are able to witness Your revelation. Amen.

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