Behold the Lamb of God
Text: John 1:35-42 Speaker: Pastor John Ude Festival: Mission Festival Passages: John 1:35-42
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Jesus Calls the First Disciples (Listen)
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.1 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus2 was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter3).
“ONE LIFE – He was born in a stable, in an obscure village, From there He traveled, Less than 200 miles. He never won an election, He never went to college, He never owned a home, He never had a lot of money. He became a nomadic preacher, Popular opinion turned against Him, He was betrayed by a close friend, And His other friends ran away. He was unjustly condemned to death, Crucified on a cross among common thieves, On a hill overlooking the town dump, And when dead, laid in a borrowed grave. Twenty centuries have come and gone, Empires have risen and fallen, Mighty armies have marched, And powerful rulers have reigned. Yet no one has affected the human race as much as He has, He is the central figure of the human race, He is the Messiah, the Son of God, our Savior.”
WHY DID ONE LIFE HAVE SUCH AN IMPACT?
How could he start with two people and expand it to billions? It was not the internet or twitter, nor bribes and armies, nor a method or program but simply who He is. So experience again the grace of the Messenger’s announcement that opens heaven, stops time, and cleaves eternity: “Behold, the Lamb of God! (τεθέαμαι pf ind mid theaomai see) Look at Him with a careful contemplation which results in an enjoyment of the eternal grace. Four people in our text experienced that grace of God’s coming to man: Andrew, Peter, and two unknowns. Yet we know the unknowns. Cross references (Mk 1:16ff, Lk 4) demonstrate they are John and James. So it is John himself describing the unforgettable experience of how he first became a disciple of Jesus. He is illustrating with his personal experience what he introduced in V. 14-16, “we beheld His glory . . . grace for grace.” That cry of John the Baptist opened heaven for him: Behold the Lamb of God.” Focusing on the person of Jesus, as John the Baptist did, is not nit-picking about doctrine it is what opens Heaven. God became man, taking our place in death, to establish for us that ladder to an open heaven which Jesus describes to Nathanael in V.51. V. 31 Behold the Lamb of God in five words sums up the whole Old Testament. It is with the sacrifice of a lamb for our sins that God decreed His righteous wrath on our sin could be set aside, sinners could enter His presence and share His blessed peace. For 4,000 years believers had brought lambs and spilt their blood on the altar of the LORD looking for the coming of this Lamb of God who would truly carry away all their sins and yours, the sins of the whole world once and for all. Ahh the sweet smell of peace and fellowship. The whole experience of man in the world cries out with our desperate need to be freed from sin. We may help but cannot stop man’s sinful abuse of other men. We cannot turn around man’s sinful destruction of society. We cannot stop sin’s plague in our own life. We cannot stop sin’s guilt and death. It is our own blood that deserves to be spilt. Imagine yourself laid and strapped with Isaac on that altar with the knife plunging toward your heart. Heaven opens and God cries: “Stop,” and provides the substitute ram for Isaac and for you. Do you think Isaac could ever again look at any sheep without experiencing, yes tasting in his mouth, the grace of that cry, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Can you?
John 1:39 He (Jesus) said to them, “Come and see.”
“Come and see!” Today, Jesus personally invites you, draws you to be with him – to see His love at work for you, in you, through you. Being with Jesus is not the result of your satisfying four spiritual laws nor completing a four step program in conversion. Being with Jesus is the Spirit given eyes of faith to focus on Jesus, who He is and what He has done for you and me. Have you noticed in reading the gospels, whether Jesus was teaching or acting we read one repeating refrain: “the people marveled at Jesus,” “the crowds marveled at Jesus,” or “he marveled at Jesus.” Do we? In our text Jesus draws Andrew and John to Himself and John so marveled at what happened that day that seventy years later, he could tell us the time of day, 10:00, when Jesus first invited them to His house, “Come and see.” Their preceding question, “Where are you staying?” was a request for a private discussion, an opportunity to learn more about Him and His teaching. And time stopped. Not only did John remember they went to His house at 10 A.M.. He also remembers they sat there all day entranced. “Come and see,” is the gospel invitation that Jesus is speaking to you \ us today, each day. “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt. 11:28,29)
Jesus draws us, as He did Andrew and John, to Himself.
Technologically, the TV and video games may seem more appealing. Sitting in our living room we can see graphs, charts, video footage on every topic from the Arctic Tern to the Zenith of Capitalism. In entertainment there’s constant offerings of new exciting action. So drawing near to Jesus through church and personal Bible study easily gets left behind. Yet, neither the technology nor entertainment of this world can give the love that Jesus shares with you, with all He draws to Himself. Without one meriting cause in us, He poured out His blood to wash us clean and covered us with His own perfect obedience that we might be His righteous sisters and brothers. Neither the technology nor entertainment of this world can produce the hope Jesus shares with you, with all He draws to Himself. It’s only in Jesus that life is no longer just a biological crawl from womb to tomb, video arcades, and athletic contests, a vain pursuit of pleasure while you can. He gives the life that never ends, life with Him in the bliss of Heaven. Neither the technology nor entertainment of this world can produce the quiet joy Jesus shares with you, with all He draws to Himself, – the lasting joy of the life Jesus models for us, life in harmony with our Father, in the security of His hands. Too easily, we become overwhelmed in the rush of time or complacent with the passing time. But behold, the announcement that stops time: “Come and see Jesus.”
We may be afraid we can’t share that invitation: “I can’t go to India or Nigeria. I can’t talk to people.” But we all have natural friendships and associations where we do share. Andrew didn’t need a degree in evangelism training to share the news nor do you. He was a simple fisherman sharing the wonder of the grace he had experienced as you can. He couldn’t wait to tell his brother, his family, his friends: “Come and see, we have found the Messiah.” Each one reached one and the Kingdom of God was coming to men. And you can carry it on. 90% of adult conversions come through someone close to them. It’s easy to be afraid: “I don’t have sufficient knowledge. They won’t listen to me, they’ll raise arguments I can’t answer.” But, you don’t need to answer every argument. You won’t argue anyone into faith anyway. Notice, right after our text, Philip didn’t even try to respond to Nathaniel arguments. He just invited: Come and see, we have found the Messiah, the LORD’s solution to all the problems of sin. So invite your friends and relatives – and you are carrying on the work that bears eternal rewards.
Yet, it’s easy to get discouraged cause so many, like Nathanael, respond with sneers about Jesus and His teachings. Like Nathanael, maybe the sneers even come from those who have walked among us. But Jesus in grace forgave Nathanael’s sneer and reached out to Him with glorious rays of divine grace. Isn’t that itself a reminder of the grace we have received, the grace sustaining us, the grace we live on: “there, but for the grace of God, go I?” The one thing needed by each of us is a renewed experience of Jesus’ grace, the answer to our desperate need, which frees us from the burden of sin. So share the grace you have been given: “Come and see. We have found the Messiah.” Though it be only one from the village and two from the city that listen, you are carrying on the work that bears eternal rewards. Taste the grace that opens heaven, stops time, and cleaves eternity: “Behold the Lamb of God. Come and see. We have found the Messiah!”