“Every Story Whispers His Name”

John 1: 29-34

29The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

31And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

32And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

34And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

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This passage contains a verse which ought to be printed in great letters in the memory of every reader of the Bible.  All the stars in heaven are bright and beautiful, and yet one star exceedeth another star in glory.  So also all texts of Scripture are inspired and profitable, and yet some texts are richer than others.  Of such texts the first verse before us is preeminently one.  Never was there a fuller testimony borne to Christ upon earth, than that which is here borne by John the Baptist.

Let us notice, firstly, in this passage, the peculiar name which John the Baptist gives to Christ. He calls Him “The Lamb of God.”

This name did not merely mean, as some have supposed, that Christ was meek and gentle as a lamb.  This would be truth no doubt, but only a very small portion of the truth.  There are greater things here than this!  It meant that Christ was the great sacrifice for sin, who was come to make atonement for transgression by His own death upon the cross.  He was the true Lamb which Abraham told Isaac at Moriah God would provide.  (Gen. xxii.8.)  He was the true Lamb to which every morning and evening sacrifice in the temple had daily pointed.  He was the Lamb of which Isaiah had prophesied, that He would be “brought to the slaughter.”  (Isaiah liii.7.)  He was the true Lamb of which the Passover lamb in Egypt had been a vivid type.  In short, He was the great propitiation for sin which God had covenanted from all eternity to send into the world.  He was God’s Lamb.

Let us take heed that in all our thoughts of Christ, we first think of Him as John the Baptist here represents Him.  Let us serve him faithfully as our Master.  Let us obey Him loyally as our King.  Let us study His teaching as our Prophet.  Let us walk diligently after Him as our Example.  Let us look anxiously for Him as our coming Redeemer of body as well as soul.  But above all, let us prize Him as our sacrifice, and rest our whole weight on His death as an atonement for sin.  Let His blood be more precious in our eyes every year we live.  Whatever else we glory in about Christ, let us glory above all things in His cross.  This is the corner-stone, this is the citadel, this is the rule of true Christian theology.  We know nothing rightly about Christ, until we see him with John the Baptist’s eyes, and can rejoice in Him as “the Lamb that was slain.”

Ryle, J. C., Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 3, John 1:1-10:30, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 2007, pp. 54-55.

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