John the Baptist said “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29,36). What does it mean to “behold” something? It means to look at, to observe, or watch it carefully. Who should take a closer look at Jesus?
The Careless Sinner
Those who live in the neglect of God and of their own souls know little of the true evil nature of sin. But let careless sinners view the Son of God leaving Heaven’s glory and assuming our nature to atone for sin; let them go to Gethsemane and behold Him bathed in a bloody sweat through the agonies of His soul; let them follow Him to Calvary, and hear Him crying, “My God, My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Let them view Him expiring under the curse and condemnation of the law; and then let them judge whether sin is “no big deal.” Let them behold Him whom they have pierced, and mourn.
It is strange that anyone who calls themself a “Christian” should expect to receive salvation through good works. Why then should the Lamb of God have come down from Heaven to atone for our sins, if sin could have been taken away by any righteousness of ours? To trust in our own merits or religious works of any kind, thinking that our place in Heaven can be earned as a reward or bought at any price, is an insult to God and to His Lamb. Let the self-righteous person renounce all vain hopes, and rather “behold the Lamb,” trusting His all-atoning sacrifice entirely.
The Burdened and Broken
What sight can be greater to a humble, repentant sinner than the sight of Jesus dying in the sinners’ place? Let the burdened and broken soul come at once to find rest in the Saviour. The Lamb of God was appointed to be the sin-bearer, and He stands ready, willing, and able to take away the sin of all who will behold Him in faith. View Him as He is—infinite in both power and grace—and listen to His encouraging invitation: “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
The Follower of Christ
Those who have turned to God and placed their faith in Jesus Christ may glory in the security which His blood affords them. But remember that He not only removes the guilt of sin; He removes the power of it also. Therefore, while we behold the Lamb of God as the basis of our eternal hope, let us also behold Him as a pattern for our imitation. Let us follow His steps in all meekness and patience, in all purity and holiness. Let us never forget that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
—C.C. Crowston, adapted