The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
The Perfect Sacrifice
Sacrifices were a part of everyday life for the Jewish people in Bible times. God’s law required the sacrifice of hundreds of lambs, bulls, goats, and birds every year. If you came to the temple at any time, your senses would be overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells of the sacrifices.
How easy it must have been for them to imagine they were doing God a service by bringing him sacrifices. After all, that is what every man-made religion teaches. If you do enough and make enough sacrifices, you will gain favor and avoid the fury of the gods.
But God required those Jewish sacrifices to teach a different point. Yes, payment is required for sin. The Bible says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” But what we do—the sacrifices we make—are never enough. That’s why those sacrifices needed to be repeated over and over again. A better sacrifice, a perfect sacrifice, was needed.
And God himself provided it. That’s right. Instead of punishing us for our arrogant attempts to earn his favor, God the Father offered a sacrifice of his own—the Lamb of God. Jesus was that perfect Lamb of God. Jesus was absolutely without blemish—perfectly sinless, spotless, stain-free. When he died in our place, God accepted his sacrifice as payment for all of our sins! No more payment is required.
Imagine that! God, angry at the disobedience of the people and receiving no valid sacrifice from them, offers his own sacrifice for them—for us! And the sacrifice he offers is none other than his own Son, Jesus, the Lamb of God! What amazing love!
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world. Have mercy on me. Amen.