Growing up in the church, I have memories of replaying the narrative of the birth of Jesus over and over again. Every Christmas eve, we had a service that would have the Sunday School kids recite lines from the Bible and play out the nativity.
While I look back on those times with some fondness, I never really understood what it meant for Jesus to be born. I understood that he was an important figure in the faith that I was raised in, but I never understood the impact that it really made on the world.
Yet, today, I know very well the impact that the arrival of Jesus has on the world. I know that when He came, everything changed. It was at this moment that the world changed to a place where God would start building his Kingdom.
But it all started with the Lamb of God.
The first time Jesus is called the Lamb of God
Remember crazy John the Baptist? Well, fast forward from the birth of Jesus to the beginnings of His ministry on earth. Here we have Jesus walking along the banks of the Jordan river and guess who sees Jesus for who He really is?
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 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.’ I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God. — John 1:29–34 (NLT)
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
While Jesus and John were cousins, it was in this moment that the Holy Spirit impressed upon John to declare who Jesus was to the world for potentially the first time.
Then John gives way and shares what God has allowed him to see, the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus and John knows that this is the moment he had been waiting for, the moment that all of Israel had been waiting for since the time of Abraham.
The Lamb of God has arrived on the scene to change everything.
Why the Lamb of God?
For many of us, we might know this well, but it is always important to remember. In the days of Jesus, people brought sacrifices to the temple to atone for their sins. These sacrifices were to be spotless animals, typically lambs like what was commanded of the Hebrews before they left Egypt.
Three years after Jesus begins His full-time ministry we all know that he would die on the cross. He would be the ultimate lamb that would be sacrificed for the sins of the world.
And John knew it before everyone else.
What can we take away from this story today during advent?
The Lamb of God in our lives today is important. If we are Christian, then we are to continually remember the power which has swept over our lives by the work Jesus has done.
If we don’t know Jesus and have not decided to follow Him, then the Lamb of God is an invitation to believe in Him.
We can believe in Jesus and start living a life completely different by acknowledging that we are separated from God from sin.
Yet, God has given us a way to know Him, and that is Jesus. You can invite Jesus into your life today, literally ask Him to enter into your life, and believe that He died on a cross and was resurrected so that you would enter the Kingdom of God.
Whether you believe it or not, this is an important thing to know and to spend time meditating on and considering.