Home Church Devotional 6/28/2020
These devotionals were written during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic when area churches were not allowed to meet for fear of spreading the coronavirus. They were used in place of a full sermon as my family and I gathered for worship and communion.
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ “I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” John 1:29-36 (NASB)
I like to play golf. Well, I like to play at golf. I’m really not very good but its not about being good for me. I just enjoy being out with a friend who enjoys the game as much as I do. And of course, there is always that one shot that keeps you coming back for more. I have one big problem when it comes to playing golf. If there is water anywhere on the course, I will find it! Those shots that find the water make me grateful for the opportunity of taking a mulligan, a do over. Playing with a friend for the love of the game makes this possible and if it weren’t for the grace to try again, I would likely stop playing the game altogether. Too bad we can’t have a mulligan in life; or can we?
In our passage, John the Baptist sees Jesus walking past as John is teaching his disciples. Seeing Jesus, John proclaims of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God…” For the Jews of Jesus day, the title “Lamb of God,” would be associated with the Passover lamb, sacrificed yearly during the Passover Feast, and those lambs used in daily sacrifice as sin offerings. Now, John the Baptist, points to Jesus as the Lamb of God, the One who will remove the sin of the world through His sacrificial death.
There is both an historical and symbolic picture being painted before the disciples of John the Baptist. The historical picture is that of God delivering Israel from bondage in Egypt. God has pronounced judgment on Egypt for their injustices against Israel. God will bring the final judgement against Egypt by slaying the firstborn of everyone and everything in Egypt. As He prepares to execute the final judgment those who believed God were instructed to slay a pure lamb and sprinkle its blood over the door posts of their homes. The blood of the innocent lamb would then serve as a sign that the coming judgment had already been carried out. When seeing the blood, God would pass over that house. Those who believed God applied the blood to their homes and were saved, but those who did not believe did not apply the blood to their homes and their firstborn were destroyed.
The symbolic picture is that of the coming of Christ as Savior, our Passover Lamb. The perfect lamb pictured His sinless life, and the blood on the door posts pictured His blood shed for believers. It was a sign that the life and blood of the innocent, perfect lamb had been substituted for the firstborn. The eating of the lamb pictured the need for spiritual nourishment gained by feeding on Christ, the Bread of Life. The unleavened bread, bread without yeast, pictured the need for putting evil out of one’s life and household.
The point is this, it was the blood of the lamb that saved the people. The lamb was sacrificed; that is, its blood was shed as a substitute for the people. The lamb symbolized Christ our Passover who was sacrificed for us. If we believe and apply His blood to our hearts and homes, He saves us. If we do not believe and do not apply the blood to our hearts and homes, we are destroyed. It is the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for us; it is His blood which saves us. Isaiah prophesied that Messiah, God’s anointed servant, would be led to the slaughter like a lamb.
Every morning and every night, a lamb was to be sacrificed, at the temple, for the sins of the people. However, the sacrifice made by Messiah is a perfect sacrifice removing the sin of the world and defeating the power of sin. Through this sacrifice, God forgives our sins. The “sin of the world” means the sin of each person, individually. Jesus has paid the price for our sin by His sacrificial death. However, we must first take ownership of our sin, acknowledging we are in need of a Savior. Only then can we claim the forgiveness found only in Jesus. We must have a repentant heart before we can be forgiven, for without acknowledging our sin, the work of Christ cannot be completed in our lives.
The Greek word John used for “takes away,” can also mean to “take up.” Christ willingly offers Himself as the sacrificial lamb; He offers Himself as our substitute and sin-bearer, and God has willingly accepted the offering and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb. If anyone, any person, truly believes in the blood of Christ, the precious shed blood has covered their sins, God will take that person’s faith and count it as righteousness. It is not the deed that causes God to remove our sin but the faith of the person in believing God’s word that He will remove the stain of sin. Jesus, the lamb of God, our Passover Lamb, took away our sin by taking them upon Himself.
In the climate of our ever increasingly unstable world, many people are looking for someone or something to give them a mulligan, a do over; someone or something that can provide a sense of security in our dangerous times. Some look to the government, others to drugs and alcohol, still others seek security in money and material goods. As followers of Jesus Christ, believers today have the responsibility to point them to Christ, the Lamb of God; the One who meet and satisfy their need, the One who can provide a do over and a sense of security in uncertain times is none other than Jesus, our Passover Lamb. If you profess to know Jesus, take the time to introduce Him to others; however, we cannot pass on what we do not have, so make certain you know the Lamb of God and have the good news of His sacrificial death in your heart, life and home. To the glory of God. Amen.