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John 1:29 – Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God

Summary

When he sees Jesus, John the Baptist proclaims him to be "the Lamb of God."

Analysis

John the Baptist introduces Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." As a result of this testimony, the first two disciples begin following Jesus. Calling Jesus "the Lamb" draws in part on Old Testament traditions concerning the Passover lamb. The Passover tradition celebrates Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt. The people of Israel were told to sacrifice lambs and smear some of the blood around the doorposts of their houses in order to protect them from the destroyer, who slew the firstborn in the households of the Egyptians (Exodus 12). The sacrifice of lambs each year at the Jewish Festival of Passover commemorated this deliverance from death. The lamb imagery also draws on the description of the suffering servant of God, who is compared to a lamb that is led to the slaughter and is said to have taken upon himself the sin of others (Isaiah 53:6-7). According to John 19:14, Jesus was crucified on the day of Preparation for the Passover, the day when the lambs were sacrificed. It was stipulated that no bone of a Passover lamb was to be broken, and John points out that none of Jesus' bones was broken in the process of crucifixion. He dies as a perfect Passover sacrifice (Exodus 12:46; John 19:36).

John 1:29

The Lamb of God

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

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10 February 2011