“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29)
The apostle John has already used several names of Jesus: the Logos / Word, the light, the Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord… In verse 29, another meaningful name is introduced: Jesus is “the Lamb of God”. His mission is to take away the sin of the world.
If we want to understand this, we need to know the concept of sacrifice. In the Old Testament, God gave extensive and detailed prescriptions for animal sacrifices. When the Israelites had sinned, they had to bring an animal to the tabernacle or temple. The priests then killed this animal and burnt it on the altar. That way, the people acknowledged that they had earned God’s wrath by their transgressions, and deserved death. But the animal was killed in their place. God accepted such a sacrifice as an atonement.
Since people sinned every day, the priests sacrificed animals every morning and every evening. This system of sacrifices did not offer a lasting, ultimate solution. But now Jesus has come as “the Lamb of God”. He is to take away the sin of the world by dying in humans’ place. His substitutionary death pays the price of sin once and for all!
How do you feel about the idea that someone else paid the price for your sins?