"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” There is perhaps no more concise, compact, beautiful statement of who Jesus is than these words from John the Baptist. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Behold, Look, there, that person you see that man named Jesus of Nazareth, look at Him. He is by all appearances merely a man but He is much more than that. He is the lamb. Which is to say, He is the sacrifice. But not just any lamb not any sacrifice, not a lamb raised by a herdsman, but a lamb from God, the lamb of God, indeed this lamb is God. And He comes for a purpose. He comes to take away the sin of the world. All the world’s sin He will atone for, all of it, all at once, forever. Your sin, my sin, the sin of every man, woman, and child, that ever has lived or ever will, Jesus, the lamb of God, takes away that sin.
John continues. “After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.” John and Jesus are related by birth, cousins of some sort. John is roughly six months older than Jesus. Yet He says of Jesus, “He was before me.” John recognizes that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, begotten of the Father before all things were made. He is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega. All things were created through Him. Jesus is greater than every prophet, even John the Baptist, because every word the prophets spoke is a word from Jesus, for He is the Word made flesh.
“I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel”, says John. John’s purpose is clear. He is but the forerunner. He is but the herald. He himself is not the light, but he bears witness to the light, the light that was coming into the world, Jesus Christ. John’s ministry has a singular purpose, to reveal Jesus as Israel’s Messiah and to reveal Him as the Savior of the nations. “And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God,” says John. And through John’s words recorded in Scripture, John reveals Jesus to us. John is a witness to us about who Jesus is and what He has done. Jesus is God’s eternal Son. He comes as the Lamb of God, to die on the cross for you, to take away your sin, to give you eternal life. "O Christ Thou lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us."