“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Why is Jesus Called a Lamb?
A lamb is an emblem of patience, meekness, and gentleness. You cannot provoke a lamb, nor did you ever hear of a lamb injuring anyone. Innocence and harmlessness are inseparable from all our ideas of a lamb, and thus it is a fitting picture of Christ. In His strength and majesty the lion is His emblem, but in His meekness and humility He resembles a lamb. Thus we read, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). But He is called a lamb principally in reference to His sacrificial death, since it was a lamb that was used for the Passover and the morning and evening sacrifice.
Why is Jesus Called THE Lamb?
Because He is not a sacrifice of our choosing but of God’s appointment. God has not left us to ask, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord?” (Micah 6:6). But He Himself provides a lamb for the offering, even His only begotten Son (Genesis 22:8).
In Psalm 40:6-8 we read that God had no pleasure in burnt offerings for sin. Why? Because by them justice was not satisfied, and sin was not removed. Therefore He has provided another Sacrifice, even Christ, who accepts the appointment and comes to do His will.
What Did God’s Lamb Accomplish?
Among the Jews, the priest was said to bear their iniquity, but he did not suffer for it. He put it upon the lamb, and the lamb suffered for it. But Jesus, our great High Priest, bore our sins Himself. And the sins of the world were such a load, even to Christ, that He sweat great drops of blood while contemplating His suffering (Luke 22:44).
What an agonizing death He died! Who can ponder without shuddering the pain of those wounds in His hands and feet, as He hung for hours suspended on the cross? Yet He uttered not one word of complaint, until to all of His other sorrows was added the sense of God’s absence or desertion. Then that bitter cry fell from His lips: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34).
Behold a fearful picture of the anguish of mind that will surprise the lost sinner when he shall feel himself finally abandoned by God! See what will then befall him! When God forsakes His Son, all sorts of evils are let loose upon Him as He atones for our sin. In those last hours of His mortal conflict, does He not seem to say, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of His fierce anger” (Lamentations 1:12).
And why all this? Because He stood in our place and suffered what was due to our sins. He was the Victim on whom the fire of God’s wrath fastened that we might escape. But if any of you despise that wonderful intervention, and neglect to apply it by faith to your great need, then we do most solemnly warn you: the fire of God’s wrath will fasten on you. And can you endure to think of so fearful a fate? Oh, make haste! Fall down before Him and say, “Lord, let that blessed sacrifice avail for me! Let that precious blood cleanse me from all my sin. Let its atoning virtue remove all my guilt, and let its sanctifying virtue, applied by the Holy Spirit, purify me from all defilement! Let me be numbered with those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb!”
—Condensed from Concise Names of Christ by James Large.