Lamb Of God

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29
 
On two successive days John the Baptist, forerunner of Jesus, referred to Jesus by this name.  Of all the names John could have used-King, Messiah, Prophet-he chose to identify Jesus as the Lamb of God.  Lambs were choice young sheep that were used as sacrificial animals in Jewish worship rituals (see Leviticus 14:11-13; 1 Samuel 7:9).  Thus, at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John realized the sacrificial role that Jesus was destined to fill.
 
The prominence of lambs in the Jewish sacrificial system began with the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, many centuries before Jesus’ time.  The Lord commanded the people to smear the blood of lambs on the doorposts of their houses.  This indicated that they would be passed over when God struck the land with the death of the firstborn (see Exodus 12:21-23).  The Jewish festival known as Passover was commemorated from that day on with the eating of the unleavened bread and the sacrifice of lambs.
 
One of the great messianic passages of the Old Testament predicted that Jesus would die like a sacrificial lamb.  About seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah declared of Him, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
 
On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus picked up on the sacrificial lamb imagery that John the Baptist had used of Him when He began His public ministry.  He gathered with His disciples to eat a meal that was part of the observance of the Jewish Passover.  But He turned it into a meal that we know as the Memorial Supper or the Lord’s Supper.
 
Just as the blood of the Passover lamb had been an agent of deliverance for the Israelites in Egypt, so the shed blood of Jesus would provide divine redemption for the entire world.  As Jesus passed the cup among His disciples, He told them, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).