"John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
'Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world'."
___Saint John 1:29.
In pointing out the Lord as the Lamb of God, Saint John the Baptist calls attention to images in the Old Testament that clarify the mission of the Christ. The first of these is the Pascal Lamb that was prescribed in the Law of Moses as the sacrificial sign of God’s covenant with the children of
The Lord said to Moses…in the land of Egypt, "This month shall stand at the head of your calendar…Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household.…The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish…You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight. They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb….For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every first--born of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt-I, the Lord!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the
A second image that is presented to us by the title, Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the World, is that of the sorrowful servant in Isaiah 53.
Who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal his saving power? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence…He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief.…
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried. It was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the guilt and sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
Finally as a point of interest, it should be noted that in Aramaic the term Lamb can also mean, in a casual sense, “Son” or male child. In other words when the Baptist points out Christ and calls Him lamb of God, he is saying: Behold the Son of God, He it is who takes upon Himself (and suppresses) the sins of mankind.