The Lamb of God

John 1:34‑36  •  13 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again, the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God."—John 1:34-3634And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 35Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:34‑36).
Christ is essentially the Son of God. His eternal Godhead and perfect manhood are remarkably brought before us in this chapter. Not only was He in the beginning with God, but was God, and was the maker of everything. "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made." (Ver. 3.) He was also Life and Light. There is no other Light. He truly said, "I am the light of the world." Men may be blind and not discover the light, yet is He "the true Light which lighteth [not enlighteneth] every man that cometh into the world.'' (Ver. 9.) But though the Word was with God, and essentially and eternally God, yet, when the time fully came, "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." In appearance like another man, found in fashion as a man, "in the likeness of sinful flesh," yet faith and the spiritual eye could see in Him "the Son of the living God," and trace a glory which was wholly unutterable; all that one could say when speaking of Him was, " We beheld his glory," (His uncreated glory) " the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father." (Ver. 14.) Thus the glory of the Son of God shines through the pages of eternal truth.
The Baptist is introduced in the chapter, because he was our Lord's forerunner; and he delighted to declare the glory of the One he announced. He repeatedly said, " After me cometh a man which is preferred [takes a place] before me; for he was before me." (Ver. 30.) He informs us of his being sent to baptize in order that Jesus might "be made manifest to Israel." But who could this mysterious person be, of whom John could thus speak as being both "before" him and "after" him? He was before John as Creator of everything, and after John as born into the world some months after the birth of John. Though John was the prophet of the Highest, yet Jesus was the Son of the Highest; and the Baptist, when thinking of His greatness and glory could only speak of himself as a "voice" and confess that he was unworthy to unloose the latchet of His shoe. John was told by divinely-given instruction, "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining upon him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." (Ver. 33.) This we know was literally fulfilled, when, as the heaven opened over Jesus, and the Spirit, in bodily shape as a dove, descended and abode upon Him, a voice from heaven declared, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." John knew therefore unquestionably the Deity of the person he thus baptized, so that he adds, "And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God?" (Ver. 34.) Marvelous as the fact is that "the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father," and who " thought it not robbery to be equal with God," should be found here "in fashion as a man;" yet how immeasurably deeper was the step He took when He willingly became a sacrifice for sin upon the cross! Yet such was His path of unfathomable grace. Hence we find in this chapter, immediately after John had declared Him to be the Son of God, he proclaims Him also to be "the Lamb of God." "Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples,; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God." (Vers. 35, 36.) John had previously announced Him as " the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world/' because He will yet, in virtue of His death and blood-shedding on the cross, so entirely eradicate every trace of sin from the earth and the heaven, that, in the new heaven and new earth, instead of sin reigning unto death, righteousness will be dwelling. Thus the sphere of blessing to be introduced by "the Lamb of God" was to extend far beyond the range of Israel, as God's gracious dealings had heretofore been principally confined to that nation. It is important to notice that it does not say which taketh away the sins of the world, as is sometimes wrongly quoted, for had that been true, then everyone must be saved; but He is "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." (Ver. 29.) Though He "died for all," He was not a Substitute for all—He was once offered to bear, [not the sins of all, but] the sins of many" (Heb. 9:2828So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28).)
Those who heard John thus speak must have been familiar with the truth of a lamb for a sacrifice. From the beginning of sin's entrance into the world, God had shown that the only way in which He could bring in blessing to man as a sinner was by sacrifice. Hence we read that His first act in meeting the need of His fallen creatures was by sacrifice—u Unto Adam also and his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." (Gen. 3:2121Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21).) The wickedness of the first offspring of Adam's race was to approach God without blood; thus ignoring the fall, and all God's testimony. This is a fashionable sin in Christendom now. The next of Adam's race was saved, because he brought to Jehovah, by faith, the firstlings of the flock—lambs, or goats; and, by this more excellent sacrifice, "he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts," &c. (Gen. 4:44And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (Genesis 4:4); Heb. 11:44By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11:4).) After this, when Abraham was journeying on to Mount Moriah to offer tap Isaac according to the command of God, the young man said to his father, "Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a Iamb for a burnt-offering." (Gen. 22:88And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8).) From that time the true hearted were taught to look for the Lamb which God would provide—"the Lamb of God."
Long after that, when the children of Israel were sheltered from the judgment of the destroying angel in the land of Egypt, their only safety was in the blood of the lamb. By that blood sprinkled on the lintel and door posts of their houses, they were assured by God of such perfect safety, that they could quietly remain that night in their dwellings, and feed upon the flesh of the lamb roast with fire, and that at a time when God's judgment of death was in every house round about them. How strikingly this reminds us of "the Lamb of God," and the perfect safety of all who are, by faith, now under the shelter of His precious blood! Afterward, in another way, the children of Israel were taught that no one could approach God, and live in His holy presence, but on account of the value of the blood sprinkled on the mercy-seat. (Lev. 16:22And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:2).)
An instructed Israelite would also be familiar with the fact that every day the morning and evening sacrifice of a lamb was to be offered; also a weekly sacrifice of two lambs on a sabbath day; also seven lambs in the beginning of every month, besides the passover and other occasions. (Exod. 29:38, 3938Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. 39The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: (Exodus 29:38‑39); Numb. 28:9-119And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: 10This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. 11And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the Lord; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot; (Numbers 28:9‑11).) All these were typical shadows of (C the Lamb of God." Hence when Jesus was manifested to Israel and known to John as the Son of God, he, looking upon Jesus as he walked, said in the presence of two of his disciples, "Behold the Lamb of God." It is in these special characters of "Son of God," and " Lamb of God," that He is now presented in the gospel, and thus endearingly made known to everyone that believeth. When the Lord comes, and we have been caught up to meet Him in the air, a remnant of God-fearing Jews will arise who have been hidden like Nathaniel, but not unnoticed by the Lord, and will, like him, confess Jesus as « Son of God," and " king of Israel." This will introduce the earthly marriage-feast, when Jesus, and ourselves (his disciples), will be present; and when, in the all-sufficiency of divine grace, He wilt give healing and joy to His long-loved and deeply chastened people. He will turn their water into wine, purify His own chosen nation by judgment, and show Himself as the resurrection and the life, and the One who fully knows what is in man. Thus chapters 1 and 2 of John's gospel, after unfolding the essential characteristics of the Son, give a striking sketch of dispensational truth.
To return to our verses. What a sacrifice of infinite value must " the Lamb of God" be, who is also " the Son of God!" The two disciples heard the word of God's messenger saying, " Behold the Lamb of God!" and their eyes were fastened on Him at once; and so captivating was He to their hearts that they went after Him. Ο the marvelous attractiveness of Christ! "The two disciples beard him speak, and they followed Jesus." (Ver. 37.) Does the reader know what this is? Have you heard God's testimony to "the Lamb of God"? Has the awakening word "Behold" Mien upon your heart with such power, as to turn your whole soul to Him as the only Savior? The word was not "Do," or "Give," or "Be this," or "Try that;" oh, no, it was "Behold!" His word by a prophet was, " Look unto me [only look] and be ye saved all ye ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.'' His word by an apostle was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." His word from His own gracious lips was "Come!" Thus the drawings of divine grace are expressed by such words as "Behold," "Look," "Believe," "Come." Does the reader truly say, I do behold, I have come; I do believe, I can look? Then to such He becomes the attractive Object of the soul. He not only satisfies our need, but He also wins our hearts.
Since the testimony of John, the Lamb has been slain, sins have been judged, and redemption has been accomplished; after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, He forever (in perpetuity) sat down on the right hand of God. Soon Jesus will be beheld "a Lamb as it had been slain in the midst of the throne" (Rev. 5); and, in millennial times, the glory of God will be seen shining through the Lamb: for it will be then said, " The glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof while u the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it," and living blessings flow like a river out of " the throne of God and the Lamb." Happy indeed are those who arc then manifested as "the bride, the Lamb's wife."
There He is now on the Father's throne. The Son of man is glorified, He is not now on the cross, not now in the sepulcher, but He is on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens.. To Him there the Spirit directs the eye of faith. There we look, and there is life in a look at the glorified One. When the eye first rests on Him there as " the Lamb of God" who has been slain for us, the heart becomes so drawn to Him, so engaged with Him, that we want to dwell with Him. This was the case with the two disciples. And what then? The Lord responded to their faith at once. He turned to them. He addressed them personally, lovingly, pointedly. He said unto them, "What seek ye?" He well knew what they were seeking; but He loves to hear the confession of our own attachment to Himself. They replied, "Rabbi, where dwellest thou?" As much as to say, it is Thyself we seek, Thyself we want, nothing but being with Thyself can satisfy our souls. How true this is! With such the hearts felt utterance surely is -
"Less than Thyself will not suffice,
For Thou art ample store;
More than Thyself I cannot crave,
Nor canst Thou give me more."
Their longing hearts were then blessedly met with the Lord's sweet words, "Come and see!" Yes, His arms were opened wide; His heart delighted in them. He whom they first looked at as a Savior, they now know as "a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother." They came and saw where He dwelt. He drew them, and they went after Him. This is not law, bat grace; not the effort of the natural man, but the action of divine love endearing Him to their hearts. They abode with Him that day. We are told it was about the tenth hour, that is about four o'clock, and they remained till six alone with Jesus. What a privilege! What wondrous disclosures must have been made to their souls at that two-hours interview! Can we wonder at one result being that they immediately sought to bring others to Jesus? And is it not equally true now, that those who have been really brought to look to the glorified One—the Lamb of God—-as their Savior,, do follow Him, do cleave to Him, do delight to tarry in His presence, and do seek to bring others to Him? Oh yes. One of these two disciples was Andrew (afterward an apostle), and his whole soul was filled with such joy in the Lord that " He first findeth his own brother, Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ, and he brought him to Jesus." (Vers. 41, 42.) Blessed conclusion of the day's employment! What joy on earth is comparable to joy in the Lord, and the joy connected with His blessed service? But in this brief but touching narrative, let us not fail to see, that the divine order is peace, communion, and testimony; and this order remains always the same. The blessed Lamb of God now on the Father's throne must be first known as the object of faith, through whose blood we have remission of sins, and in whom we are accepted. Then follow communion with Him, dwelling with Him, participating in His own thoughts, His own delights, His own purposes, service, and ways; and then, as we are vessels filled with heavenly treasure, and overflowing with the grace of God to us in Christ, we seek to bring others to the same precious Savior! God grant we may know this better!
Dear reader, Is Jesus the chiefest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely to your heart? Do you know His attractiveness—the drawings of His love? Can you say, "He loved me and gave himself for me"?