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exercising. He points him out to his disciples in terms which at once explain a whole volume of type and prophecy. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
We had been told before, “ The Word was made flesh.” The The reason,
purpose of this incarnation is now disclosed. It is all contained in the description, The Lamb of God. He came to be the propitiation for sin. He came to be that, which He alone could be, an atonement to the holiness of God for the guilt incurred by man.
Adam had transgressed the law which he was bound to obey, and involved the whole race of his posterity in corruption. And how could man be pardoned, and the holiness of God's government be maintained ? “ As by one's man's disobedience many were made sinners,” who could be the one, by whose“ obedience many might be made righteous ?” None of the sons of men could offer an atonement. They needed atonement; for they were themselves corrupt : they had nothing to pay : “No man can redeem his brother, or make agreement unto God for him." But the Son of God, the eternal, uncreated Word, consented to stand in the stead of a guilty race.
" In the volume of the book it is written of him, Lo I come to do thy will, O God.”! Being
" without spot of sin,” his innocence might be received as a free offering : and, taking man's nature upon him, he could suffer man's penalty. This was determined from the beginning. Jesus is called, “ the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."'2
1 Ps. xl. 6. Heb. x. 4, &c.
And being so determined, it was foreshown in various ways.
From the earliest times, the patriarchs are represented as offering sacrifice to God. As mankind were dispersed, they carried the custom with them, though its purpose was lost and forgotten. But the whole is contained in the law given by Moses to the Israelites. It could not be mistaken, when the priest laid his hands upon the head of the creature intended for an offering, and made confession of sin over the head of the sacrifice ;: thus prefiguring what was afterwards to be more fully explained, how the Lord had laid on one the iniquity of all.*
By the ordinances of the law, various animals were used in sacrifice. But none so constantly as the lamb. One was offered up in the temple every morning, and another every evening : and on the sabbath, two. But it was the rite of the passover which most evidently and remarkably typified that full and perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of all men, which was consummated upon the cross.
The lamb slain as the passover, was to be without blemish.. So was Jesus without spot of sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." The lamb was to be “ of the first year ;” so Christ was cut off in the prime of his days : and slain by such a death, that as was ordered in the killing of the passover,
" not a bone of him was broken." The lamb was to be slain by the “whole assembly Rev. xiii. 8.
3 Lev. xvi. 21. 4 Isa. liii. 5 Num. xxviii. 3-10. 6 Exod. xii. 3, &c. 7 See 1 Pet. i. 19.
of the congregation of Israel.” So it was on the principal festival of the year that “ counsel was taken against Jesus, to put him to death :" and the whole people made it their own act, by exclaiming, “Crucify him! crucify him!” “ his blood be on us, and on our children !” The lamb, too, was slain in the evening. And so it was in the evening, “ about the ninth hour,” when Jesus, “knowing that all things were now accomplished which he had undertaken for our salvation, declared,—“It is finished;"_" and bowed his head and gave up the ghost.” And as in the manner of the sacrifice all was similar, so was the effect the
The blood of the lamb sprinkled on the door-posts of the houses preserved the people of Israel from the messenger of destruction. And so the blood of Christ, sprinkled, as it were, upon our hearts, is designed to exempt the sinner from the stroke of divine justice, and save him from “ the bitter pains of eternal death.” Thus was atonement made to the justice of God: who in mercy to man's ruined and helpless state has covenanted to receive the blood of one instead of the blood of many, and to be reconciled to the penitent offender for the sake of his dear Son.
Here then is the sense in which we behold Jesus as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world :-taketh away all that sin which is laid upon him by the faith of the penitent offender. The words of the Baptist show that he possessed the key of that mysterious worship which God had established, and was empowered to disclose its meaning, hitherto concealed. He points to Jesus and exclaims, Behold the Lamb of God. And behold, in him, the person so long prefigured by the sacrifices of the law. Behold the one righteous, designed in the counsels of God as a substitute for many sinners. Behold the true Paschal Lamb, who is offered for us, to take away the sin of the world : why by his death shall destroy death, and by his rising to life again shall restore to us everlasting life. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
The application of these words of the Baptist is simple and clear. Behold the Lamb of God. Let wilful offenders against the divine command behold the testimony which God has borne to the heinousness of sin, in the fact established by the law of Moses, that “ without shedding of blood is no remission.
But let the humble and contrite behold, in the Lamb of God, an evident proof of the divine mercy. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him
for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things pertaining to life and godliness?"
“* For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”,
& Rom. viii. 32.
9 Rom. v. 10.
ANDREW, AND SIMON, AND OTHERS, CALLED AS APOSTLES OF JESUS. ESPECIAL MENTION OF NATHANAEL.
John i. 35-51.
35. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples ;
36. And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God !
37. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou ?
39. He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
Though the call of these disciples was peculiar, the circumstances attending it are full of instruction.
They heard the Baptist point to Jesus as he walked, and say, Behold the Lamb of God, " which taketh away the sin of the world.” Behold him " of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write ; him “who should come, and whom