Advent Day 2: John’s Announcement

“The next day, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ “ (John 1:29).  Before Jesus has said a word about His mission in the world, John makes a prophetic announcement.  Jesus of Nazareth, who appears to you now as a natural man, is actually the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  This substitutionary role of Jesus will be proclaimed in a hundred ways throughout the New Testament.

“Jesus Christ the righteous is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (I John 2:2).  “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:10).

“We are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sinsIt was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26).

John’s proclamation looks back to the Old Testament with its reference to the Lamb of God.  The Passover lamb of the old covenant, whose blood was displayed on the doorposts each year, was a picture of the coming redemptive work of Jesus Christ.  John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the last sacrifice, offered on behalf of the whole world.  (As an aside, the book of Hebrews is a beautiful explanation of Jesus as the last sacrifice.)

Later in the John’s gospel, John the Baptist has another prophetic word about Jesus.  “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).  Is John talking about his own importance in comparison to Jesus?  Or is there a more prophetic message here?  We will talk about it next time.