GRACE NOTES: Look to the lamb of God
“Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
In John, chapter one, that’s the way John the Baptist points to Jesus. He invites us to look to the lamb. And we do, right?
That’s why you’re reading this, isn’t it? You want to take these three minutes to think about Jesus, something by now, I hope you’ve come to expect in this column. So, you already look to the lamb of God, don’t you? But when you do…what are you looking for?
When you look to the lamb, what are you looking for? What do you expect from Jesus?
When those two disciples started following him, Jesus turned to them and asked, “what do you want?”
That’s the question I’m asking.
What do we expect to get from Jesus? Are you looking to the lamb of God for help coping with daily burdens? How about life made easier, or more success?
It’s easy, isn’t it, to get distracted, to get focused on the things we see, on the things of this world, instead of on what this lamb is all about.
John reminds us: “Look to the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Yes, Jesus can do all those things I mentioned, but what is it we really need?
If we are just looking to him for peace and ease in things of our life here, we will not be picking up our crosses and following Him, doing the hard things for Him even when we don’t “want” to. If we are looking to the lamb as a last-ditch effort to fix a problem we’ve tried everything else on, we come dangerously close to seeing him as nothing but a good luck charm.
If we are looking to the lamb because it feels like the socially acceptable thing to do, we are not seeing him.
When Jesus asks, “What do you want?” let that question penetrate your motives and expose the selfishness that all too often motivates what you do, even if the action itself looks good. Anything that puts self over Savior, even if you don’t realize you’re doing it, is sin, and the reason the lamb was lifted up on that cross.
So look to the lamb of God. Hear him ask you that question: “What do you want?”
And look at the answer of those disciples: “Rabbi… where are you staying.”
Rabbi means teacher. They’re saying, “We want to learn from you.” They ask, “Where are you staying?” Translation: We want to be with you. We want to see what you do. We want to look to you.
This is the answer we give when we see the lamb for whom He is: “Jesus, Rabbi, we want to be where you are. We want to learn from you.”
That’s why we gather as a church, to see Jesus, to grow in His Word, to see His love revealed through each other, to feel the presence of the lamb. Remember he promised that wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, there he is with us.
So look to the lamb of God and realize what that means. That whole lamb thing is a powerful picture. As God was rescuing his people from slavery in Egypt, God had his people sacrifice an innocent lamb and paint its blood on their doorway and its blood protected them from the angel of death. And every year, they were to do it again at that Passover festival to remind them of that substitute blood that was needed to protect them. In the temple, every morning and every night, a lamb was to be offered: a male, without defect. Its blood was to be poured out for the sins of the people. They understood the picture of a lamb as a sacrifice in their place. Do we? We can’t fix our sins, but his blood paid for them. We can’t make things right, but his perfection, our lamb without blemish or defect, has made all things new and made us new.
John points to Jesus, the lamb of God, that sacrifice, who was led like a sheep to the slaughter, who lived perfectly in our place and was killed for no fault of his own, but because we needed that blood to cover our sins.
So look to the Lamb of God who has done what we really need and remember why you’re looking to him, and he’ll take care of all the rest. It changes everything when we look to the lamb of God and see that he has taken away the sin of the world.
Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Full sermons and more information can be found at www. abidinggrace.com.