GRACE NOTES: Look to the lamb of God

The Covington News - - Local News -

“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.

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