BEHOLD! The LAMB of GOD – JESUS CHRIST! The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:29-31, 35-36)
The above scriptural passage describes a very important moment when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was introduced before the world by His forerunner, John the Baptist. The words that John used to introduce Jesus carry a lot of importance since it established the purpose of the ministry of Jesus on the earth. These words have a lot of significance for they speak about Jesus being the “Lamb of God” who would carry away the sins of the entire human race (v. 29).
The lamb of the Passover (in Exodus 12) may have been the backdrop for the statement by John the Baptist that Jesus was the “Lamb of God.” As a suffering servant (Isa. 53:7), Jesus was sacrificed for the sins of the entire world (Isa. 53:12). It is possible that as the “Lamb of God” Jesus represented the slain animal that was killed in the Garden of Eden to provide tunics of skin in order to clothe and hide the nakedness of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). As the “Lamb of God” Jesus may be the actualization of the sin offering (Lev. 4) or, the scapegoat that bore Israel’s sin typologically on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 5:16).
However, the blood of the lambs slain during the period of the Old Testament did not put away the sin of the people completely. Those lambs were symbols pointing forward to the fact that God would one day provide a Lamb who would actually take away the sin. All down through the years, godly Jews have been waiting for the coming of this Lamb. Now at last the time had come, and John the Baptist triumphantly announced the arrival of the true Lamb of God!
During those days, Jerusalem was bustling with Jewish worshippers who were looking to purchase the adequate Passover lambs to sacrifice as per God’s instructions which were specific – the lamb had to without any blemish and a male of the first year (Exo. 12:5; Deut. 17:1). It was the duty of the priests to examine the lambs for any disease or defects, and thereafter, separate the spotless lambs so that God’s command was obeyed. When the priest came upon a spotless lamb, he would point out to that lamb and call out: “Behold the Lamb”! In the fullness of time, God sent His own Son, to be the spotless and unblemished “Lamb of God” who would bear everyone’s sin upon Himself. This is the reason that when John saw Jesus walking towards him, he exclaimed loudly - “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
The sacrificial death of Jesus Christ was great enough in value to pay for the sins of the whole world, but only those sinners who receive the Lord Jesus as Savior are forgiven. "For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus)" (2 Cor. 5:21). So, Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament lamb (Exo. 12, 13; Num. 28:4). The “Lamb of God” was not limited to the Jewish people but rather He is the Savior of the entire world (see Isa. 52:13–53:12; John 4:42). The sacrificial language of John’s declaration points to the universal scope of Christ’s mission!