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December 31 – Behold, the lamb of God!

“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

Scripture reading: John 1:29-34

The height of John the Baptist’s ministry was his presentation of Jesus as the Saviour to the covenant nation. He had prepared the way for the Messiah by his preaching and baptisms. He had announced that the kingdom of God was at hand. Now John sees Jesus walking towards him. He announces to his disciples and to the crowds: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John calls Jesus a sacrificial lamb. Each day, lambs were sacrificed in the Temple. When John made this statement, how could the Jews also not think of the Passover lambs? One of the critical events in the history of Israel was the Passover in Egypt. Just as the blood of the Passover lambs had delivered the firstborn sons of the Israelites from the avenging angel, so Christ’s blood would cover and protect His people. The Apostle Paul later explicitly identified Jesus as the Passover Lamb: “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Isn’t it something that we can use such possessive language like this? Christ belongs to us. His sacrifice was on our behalf.

This identification of the Messiah with a lamb was bound to be confusing to the Jews who had come to think of the Messiah only in terms of a triumphant victor. But from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry the covenant people are clearly told that the Messiah has come to die.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you would deeply sense the truth that because of your sins you deserve death and Hell. Pray that you would be thankful that the Messiah is your Passover Lamb.

Rev. Nathan Brummel is Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament at Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary, and an associate pastor at Immanuel United Reformed Church in DeMotte, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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