Second Sunday after the Epiphany
The Lamb of God
Throughout my ministry I have carried different titles. But the titles I am most proud of are friend, son, brother, husband, and Dad.
This passage from John’s Gospel moves us from John’s ministry of baptism to the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In earlier verses John had been questioned if he himself were God’s Chosen One, which he denied. John was obviously questioned about this, as his call to repentance was apparently something new and different for the people of the time.
Then Jesus comes walking by. Unlike the other Gospels, John gives no account of Jesus’ baptism. John the Baptist describes for his listeners what occurred during Jesus’ baptism. John witnesses a connection made between heaven and earth in the form of the Spirit descending like a dove and staying with Jesus. John announces to all within earshot, “Jesus is the Lamb of God.”
In our time we are probably used to this title. Our Moravian Church seal is a lamb. We say, “Our Lamb Has Conquered, Let Us Follow Him.” This passage is the only place in the Gospels where Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God.
Throughout most of the Scriptures, it is not good to be a lamb. In Leviticus, lambs were to be slaughtered as purification or guilt offerings. In Numbers, lambs were part of a group of livestock to be sacrificed for “well-being.” Lambs were to be sacrificed.
Were the people John spoke to puzzled by the title he gave Jesus? But the title John gives to Jesus is appropriate. Jesus, the Lamb of God, is sacrificed. He is sacrificed for all of humanity, for all of time. Because of this one sacrifice we can all be forgiven.
Dave Sobek, pastor, Moravian Church
Lake Mills, Wisconsin