Pointing to the Lamb
Scripture Reading — Mark 1:1-8; John 1:29-34
John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” — John 1:29
John the Baptist met Jesus. Most of the people in Judea back then knew about John before they knew about Jesus. John spoke to large crowds of people, calling them to turn away from sin and to seek forgiveness from God. People were curious about John. Who was he? And how could he speak with such authority? John responded by pointing people away from himself and toward Jesus.
A work of art called the Isenheim Altarpiece, painted by Matthias Grünewald, shows John the Baptist pointing to Jesus as he suffers on the cross for our sin. This painting aims to show how John told people ahead of time that Jesus, the Lamb of God, would take away the sin of the world.
The Jewish people who heard John say this would have thought of the lamb that each family had to sacrifice for their sin (see Leviticus 4-5). They would also be reminded of the yearly Passover festival, when they sacrificed a lamb to observe God’s deliverance from slavery (see Exodus 12). John was saying that Jesus would deliver them from sin, providing forgiveness once and for all, for the whole world.
When you talk about Jesus today, you can follow John’s example by pointing to Jesus as our Savior and deliverer. You can trust that God forgives your sin because of Jesus’ sacrifice, and you can invite others to know the peace of this forgiveness.
Lamb of God, thank you for taking away the sin of the world. Help us to point others to you and to your love for all people. Amen.