-Behold The LAMB
The phrase, “Behold the Lamb of God,” is only mentioned in the New Testament but the act itself is an occupation that started long before these precious words appear in Scripture. Even today, more than two thousand years after these stirring words were declared by John the Baptist, the action that they commend should be practiced by everyone. For the unsaved, it is a vital step toward salvation; for the believer, it is an invitation to worship. The Implication Of A Lamb In the Old and New Testaments, the lamb is much more than a baby sheep. It has a deep significance in its meaning as a picture (or type) of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is worthy of our adoring attention. While many a godly individual had already tasted the blessing of bringing “the firstling of his flock and of the fat thereof” as a gift to the Lord (Gen. 4:4 KJV), it wasn’t until the Israelites were about to leave Egypt that God gave them orders to behold the Lamb. In preparation for the Passover – when the death angel would pass over those covered by the blood – they were to take a lamb without blemish, a male of the first year, and keep it in the household for four days before slaying it and putting its blood on their door posts to protect the life of first-born (Ex. 12:5-30). It is impossible to imagine the thoughts of the oldest child, and his parents, as they beheld this innocent lamb. As the first Passover drew near, they beheld it as the means of their salvation. Every year they would be reminded of their Lamb!
Examples To Consider
On at least 16 occasions, the five books of Moses record sacrifices of a lamb of the first year (or firstling), denoting innocence. There are other connotations which were not discerned or beheld until they were discovered later on in the Old Testament, and specifically as the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospels. Anyone who has seen a little lamb can understand how it represents innocence. When this little creature is seen in a farmer’s field, a natural reaction is to stop and behold it. Such thoughts encourage us to realize how much more precious it is to “behold the Lamb of God.” There is so much to be found in taking the time to look closely at Him.
God finds His delight in the lamb’s meaning. Consider for example, when the Philistines were about to attack Israel and Samuel “took a suckling lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD … and … cried unto the LORD for Israel” (1 Sam. 7:8-9). He took a suckling lamb. What a picture! Even though there hadn’t been much time to observe this young creature, one can still recognize the tenderness of this sacrifice. Samuel certainly must have entered into the significance of what this lamb meant to the Lord. The preciousness of this sacrifice was beheld by God Himself and He answered Samuel’s prayer for Israel’s salvation.
In another example, King David was told this touching story (that also illustrated the beauty of a lamb) to wake him up to his grievous sins. “There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up; and it grew up together with him, and with his children. It did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he was not willing to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to prepare it for the wayfaring man that was come unto him, but took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared it for the man who was come to him” (2 Sam. 12:1-4). Why did Nathan use “one little ewe lamb” as the object lesson? Because it exemplifies the attraction (not a superficial, but a deeper emotional attachment) such a creature may have to those who truly “behold the Lamb” and find their pleasure in Him.
The Lamb Of God
The Lamb is a picture of Jesus Christ our Lord, who truly personifies all that the lamb stands for. Isaiah predicted that He would be oppressed, afflicted and brought as a lamb to the slaughter (Isa. 53:7). We behold Him in the prophetic verses of Isaiah 53, considering the cost, the shame, the agony and the victory of Him who died to procure our salvation.
The New Testament specifically names this One who was pictured in the sacrifices of the Old Testament and about whom Isaiah and others prophesied. John the Baptist identified Him twice in a simple but profound statement. When first meeting the Lord Jesus, John proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). In this testimony John pointed to Jesus as Savior. Peter, who grew to appreciate the deep meaning of John’s declaration, later referred to it by pointing out that we are “redeemed … with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). These statements of John and Peter underline the fact that the unsaved should “behold the Lamb of God.” A believing look at the Lord Jesus on the cross brings saving grace to the repentant heart (Jn. 3:14-16; Num. 21:8).
The second time that John caught sight of Jesus, he shortened his declaration to simply “Behold the Lamb of God” (Jn. 1:36). This announcement may have been an invitation to behold Him more closely and more intimately. It had a profound affect on several of John’s disciples and they followed Jesus, gaining a wonderful opportunity to behold Him in action for the next three and a half years. This closeness caused the apostle John to write about his own unforgettable experiences: “We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14).
Beholding The Lamb
To the believer, beholding the Lamb brings assurance of salvation, a reminder of God’s love, a glimpse of the perfections of Christ and so much more. The longer we behold Him, the more precious He becomes. As a result, believers will worship the Lord Jesus with these future words: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).
The Book of Revelation refers to “the Lamb” at least 26 times (Rev. 5:6,8,12,13; 6:1,16; 7:9,10, 14,17; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1,4,10; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7,9; 21:14,22,23; 22:1,3). Each reference gives us a glimpse of a specific glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meditating on these verses will help us to “behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.”
Here are some other ways we can behold Him:
- By prayerfully reading the Gospels and asking Him to reveal Himself in them.
- By reading the Old Testament and asking Him to reveal Himself there as well.
- By partaking of the Lord’s Supper as He requested, and meditating on the meaning of the bread and the wine.
- By studying the offerings in Leviticus 1-7 to discover how each one shows us a different aspect of His person and work on our behalf.
- By examining the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness in Exodus 25-27, to discover the beauties of Him in every detail of its construction.
There is no higher object for our consideration than to “behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.” May this become our constant occupation.
By Hank Blok
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org
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