Chapter 26 Christ As The Lamb Of God

Behold the Lamb of God (John 1:29).

The Lamb of God is the central theme of the holy Scriptures. All who wrote, inspired by the Spirit of God, pointed to Christ. That is what the whole Bible does. The Cross of Christ is the key to every epoch of human history. Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world and He reigns today, and will reign throughout endless ages, as the enthroned Lamb in heaven. There are ten principal and chosen servants who set forth Christ in this touching title.

1. Abel. “Abel… brought of the firstlings of his flock” (Genesis 4:4). He, no doubt, had been taught by his parents, the necessity of a blood sacrifice for sin. Cain, his elder brother, brought the fruit of his own toil, rejecting God’s method, and was himself rejected. Abel followed divine directions—knew that he was a sinful man—a child of wrath—an heir of a corrupt nature—and brought what must have been a lamb and spoken of as “a more excellent sacrifice” (Hebrews 11:4). This spoke of acceptance.

2. Abraham. To bring Abraham into fellowship with all that was in His heart, God called Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Here is the first mention of the actual word “lamb.” As father and son went up mount Moriah, the place of sacrifice, Isaac asked: “My father… behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” After going through the test of faith to the uttermost point, God called Abraham: “Lay not thine hand upon the lad,” and then, “behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up … in the stead of his son” (Genesis 22:7-13). This spoke of substitution.

3. Israel. Exodus 12 is Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. “They shall take to them every man a lamb” (vv. 3, 7). The blood of the lamb was to be sprinkled on the doorposts and on the lintel of their houses, and God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Under the blood there was protection from the destroying angel. This spoke of security.

4. The Levites. These were ministers of the sanctuary and offered what became known as the Levitical offerings. The offerings of sheep were to be “perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein” (Leviticus 22:21). Only a perfect offering could make a perfect sacrifice, so that it could meet all the challenges of sin. This spoke of absolution.

5. Isaiah. “He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows … He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (53:4, 5). The masculine pronoun shows that He was to be a true Man, and in that manhood, God’s Lamb was to bear our sins in His own body. This spoke of sin-bearing.

6. John the Baptist. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). This is the first mention of Christ as the Lamb in the New Testament and an answer to Isaac’s inquiry: “Where is the lamb?” (Genesis 22:7). In the fullness of time—the exact time—the Son of God was manifested and introduced to the world by John as God’s appointed Lamb of sacrifice. This spoke of the removal of sin.

7. Philip. An Ethiopian eunuch had come all the way to Jerusalem. He was a high government official, as we might call Secretary of the Treasury. He was manifestly an earnest seeker after the true manner of worship. But he found nothing in Jerusalem but a dead religious system, all the symbols of which had been done away with the coming of Christ Himself. Philip was directed to meet this man on his way home, and running alongside his chariot and hearing him read from Isaiah 53, asked: “Understandest thou what thou readest?” On being invited up into the chariot Philip “began at the same Scripture and preached unto him Jesus.” The Ethiopian was saved and baptized and went on his way rejoicing. This spoke of individual salvation.

8. Peter. “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18, 19). That was the price paid for our redemption, but it was not a cash transaction. It was “blood of God” (Acts 20:28). This spoke of purchase.

9. John. This is John the apostle exiled by the Emperor Domitian to the Gentile island of Patmos. This place of limitation became the place of revelation and in a vision of a heavenly scene John sees “In the midst of the throne … stood a Lamb as it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). The Lamb who had been slain on earth was indeed risen from the dead and now enthroned in heaven. The Victim had become the Victor. This spoke of government.

10. The Angel. “And … one of the seven angels … showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God … And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof (Revelation 21:9, 10, 23). The Lamb was the Conveyor of all the glory of God. The glory of God shone through the Lamb so that there was no need for any created light (the sun), or transmitted light (the moon), or manufactured light (the candle). This spoke of His glory.

Behold the amazing sight!
The Saviour lifted high;
The Son of God, His soul’s delight,
Expires in agony.

For whom, for whom, my heart,
Were all these sorrows borne?
Why did He feel that piercing smart,
And wear the crown of thorn?

For us in love He bled,
For us in anguish died;
’Twas love that bowed His sacred head,
And pierced His precious side.

Behold the amazing sight!
Nor trace His griefs alone,
But from the cross pursue our flight
To His triumphant throne.

—Philip Doddridge