Tony Evans - Jesus the Lamb of God
John the Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world". That word "behold," that means pay close attention and focus. Remove all distractions. Behold, look at that. You see that man over there? He is the Lamb of God. When he calls Jesus the Lamb of God and he introduces it with behold. The reason he is so animated, the reason he is so forthright, the reason he is so excited, "Behold," is because Israel had been looking for this person for centuries. They had been waiting for the one who was promised to come who would address the issue of sin. John the Baptist says, "The wait is over. Behold, the Lamb of God".
Now, to appreciate why he's called the Lamb, we got to go back. When Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to fix the problem themselves 'cause they sewed together some leaves, tied them around themselves to cover themselves. The problem was their attempt to cover their sin was unacceptable to God. And not that they didn't try, it's not that they didn't come up with a sewing Singer program. It's just that the sewing of the leaves did not satisfy the demand of God. So, God had to slay an animal himself and shed blood in order to provide a covering for Adam and Eve that he himself would accept. He would not accept the covering they offered. He would only accept the covering he provided. This would lead to a sacrificial system throughout the whole Old Testament, by which the wrath of God against sin could be assuaged.
The main centerpiece of this program went back to an event in Exodus chapter 12 called the Passover. When Israel was leaving Egypt, the last plague was, "I am going to take the life of the firstborn in every Egyptian home. In order for you, Israel, to bypass what I'm getting ready to do to Egypt, you have to slay a lamb and shed its blood. You are then to take the blood and paint it on the doorposts of your houses. And when the death angel comes over to slay the firstborn of these rebellious Egyptians, when I see the blood, I will pass over you," Exodus 12, verse 13. In other words, the blood will avert judgment based on God's justice.
When I see the blood, now why the blood? Why couldn't the lamb have a heart attack? Why did it have to be the blood? Well, one of the principles of Scripture is the life of the flesh is in the blood. He says there must be the shedding of blood in order to avert my just wrath. In the Old Testament, he came up with a way to avert his wrath on a temporary basis. The temporary basis was through the slaying of the lamb and the other sacrifices. Hebrews chapter 10, verses 1 to 14. Hebrews chapter 9, verses 11 to 14. He says those sacrifices could not fix the problem of sin. All they could do would be to delay the judgment for sin. So, every year, the high priest would go on the Day of Atonement, into the Holy of Holies to sacrifice. And then the people on a regular basis would offer their own lamb for their sin so that God's judgment would bypass them, okay?
So, that is the Old Testament system. That Old Testament system looked forward to the day when God would provide a permanent solution to the problem of sin by having an acceptable sacrifice. This sacrifice or lamb was for the purpose, here it is, of the substitutionary atonement. Let me say it again, the substitutionary atonement. Here it is, God must judge sin. We all sin, we are all under judgment. God's standard is so high that only perfection will meet it. So, the whole Old Testament anticipated through the lambs that they were slaying the time when God would provide this perfect lamb. Isaiah 53, verses 1 to 12 gives a description of this suffering servant, this person who would come and who would be like a lamb sent to the slaughter. And he would bear the iniquity of mankind.
Behold, John breaks on the scene and says, "We found him, the Lamb of God". Okay, watch this. He's not just the lamb, he's the Lamb of God. In other words, it's God's solution to the problem. It's not the lamb you came up with, it's the lamb God came up with. So, God is the standard by which what is acceptable to him. Behold, the Lamb of God. And so, he sets the stage for this declaration. In fact, Jesus is called in 1 Corinthians 5:7 the Passover Lamb. It says Christ is our Passover Lamb. Now, why? Because, "Behold, the Lamb of God," stay with me here, "who taketh away the sin of the world".
Now, if you read that too fast, you'll miss something. "Behold, the Lamb of God," God's provision for a substitutionary atonement. God, while God must judge sin, he will accept substitutes. Okay, he will do an exchange. "Behold, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin," watch this, "of the whole wide world". We call this unlimited atonement. That is, that the death of Jesus Christ was so sufficient that it addressed every sin of every person who has ever lived for all time. Now, you're going to have to let that set in again. The Bible declares Jesus tasted death for all men.
The Bible declares, 2 Corinthians 5:19, that he reconciled the whole world to himself, that he was the Lamb of God who satisfied the demand of God because he met the standard of God. The Lamb of God had to be perfect. Jesus Christ was perfect, he qualified. The Lamb of God had to be human. Jesus became a man. God the Son became a man, so he was human. Hebrews 2:17 says in order to qualify, he had to be like his brethren, he had to be blood and skin and bones. He had to be human. But he had to be human, but he had to be a perfect human. So, Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirement to be the substitute. On the cross, Jesus Christ bore every sin of every person who has ever lived for all time.
Now, why am I saying that over and over and over again? Because there is a common misunderstanding, and that is that people don't go to heaven because of their sins. If that were true, even saved people couldn't go to heaven 'cause saved people still sin. People don't miss heaven because of their sin, why? Because Jesus paid it all. His last words on the cross were, "It is finished, tetelestai". That means paid in full. When non-believers are judged in Revelation chapter 20, their sins are never brought up. Not because they haven't sinned, because the sin was paid for. The problem is even though the sin has been paid for, they do not possess eternal life.
"For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life". See, what's missing is life. The verse that kind of gives you the summary of this is 2 Corinthians 5:21, which says, "He who knew no sin," he was perfect, "he who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him". There was a credit transfer. God took the perfect credit of Jesus, he's got a perfect credit score, and he transfers the perfect credit score to the person who receives Christ. He says in Romans chapter 3, verse 23, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". But then he says, "Being justified as a gift by his grace".
So, there's a word, "gift". Gifts you don't earn. Once you earn it, it's a wage. Gifts are free. Gift by his grace, so he gives it. Justified, that's our first theological word that this lamb produces. The word "justification" means to be declared legally innocent. It's like a judge saying, "I find you not guilty". That's justification, it's a legal term, it's a courtroom term. When a sinner believes on Jesus Christ, he is declared by God not guilty because of the righteousness transfer I just talked about. So, you're as guilty as sin, but God says, "Not guilty," because he looks at Christ and exonerates you, okay? So, that's justification. It is a declaration legally of not being guilty before a holy God. Then he comes to the second word.
The second word he says in verse 24, "Through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus". The redemption is to release through the payment of a price. It was where slaves were put on the slave block, and they would be bought by somebody and then set free. It would be redemption. To redeem is to buy something by paying a price for it in order to release it. So, God declared you righteous so that he could let you get out of jail. He declared you righteous, me righteous so that we would no longer be held hostage. Eternity, that's how long it's going to take you to pay the price that God demands for our sin. It will take forever.
So, since you can't afford forever, Jesus Christ picked up the forever tag, price tag, so that you can be set free. That's redemption. Then he gives you the zinger word. I call this the zinger word theologically. He says, "Whom God displayed publically as a propitiation in his blood". Propitiation, that is a big theological word that means satisfaction, satisfaction. To be propitiated means to be satisfied. So, when we say that Jesus was set forth as a propitiation, what we are saying is he satisfied the just demands of a holy God with his substitutionary atonement. God said, "I'm satisfied. What you have done, Son, has satisfied my holy demands on all of mankind who's ever lived forever. I am now satisfied. And so, I reconcile the world to myself because I accept your substitution".
So, Jesus Christ now offers eternal life to all who respond to him, justification, redemption, and then propitiation. Satisfied. It was Jesus's death on the cross that when you really understand what he accomplished should affect you living the rest of your life. On the cross, Jesus not only paid for your sin, he broke the authority of Satan. See, Saturday was a big day. He died on Friday, he rose on Sunday, but the Bible says on Saturday, he went to hell and he declared victory to the demonic realm. So, between death and resurrection, he was preaching a victory sermon. He was saying, "Devil, I win, you lose. I'm in charge here". The back of the devil was broken.
So, the only way the devil can own you now is to trick you. That's why he's called the great deceiver, 'cause he now has to trick you into thinking you don't have enough power. And the main way he does it is to get you to forget about the blood. 'Cause if he can get you to forget about the blood and the blood is the only thing that breaks his back, and you don't remember to utilize the blood, then he knows you don't have power to stop him from messing with you. It is the blood, he says, that gives you the power of victory and of righteousness. Jesus is called the Lamb 28 times in the book of Revelation, 28 times he's called the Lamb.
So, this is a big deal for John. It's in the book of Saint John, he's called the Lamb, but now 28 times in the book of Revelation, the Lamb, the Lamb, the Lamb, the Lamb, the Lamb. In Revelation chapter 5, verse 11, "Then I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.' And every created thing which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and all things in them I heard saying, 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.' And the four living creatures kept saying, 'Amen,' and the elders fell down and worshipped".
I want you to know that the blood will not lose its power. You get up in the morning and you shout it out, "Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world for eternity and for history". I'll close with this. There's this little boy who had captured two birds and he put 'em in a cage. Captured the two birds, he put 'em in a cage. And he was walking down the street with the caged birds, and a man saw the birds in the cage. He said, "Young man, where are you going with those two birds and the cage"? Oh, he says, "I'm goin' to play with them for a little bit, then I'mma feed 'em to the cat". The man said, "You're gonna do what"? "I'mma play with them a little bit, but then I'mma feed the two birds to the cat". He said, "Look, how much will you take for those two birds and the cage? I will pay you whatever price you require".
The young man thought about it, came up with a very high price, the man reached into his pocket, pulled out his money, and he bought the bird cage with the birds in it. When he took the bird cage with the birds in it over to the side, he opened the door and he let the birds go free. Now, let's rewind. The boy had the birds in a cage, which means they were trapped in a situation they couldn't get themselves out of. But not only were the birds trapped in a situation they couldn't get themselves out of, the plan for the bird was destruction 'cause he was goin' feed 'em to the cat. So not only were they trapped in light, but they had no hope for eternity because they were trapped, and all the boy said he was goin' do was play with 'em.
Isn't that what the devil does with us sometime? He traps us and then he plays with us, only to eat us up later on. But somebody from the outside asks how much will you take for those two birds and he paid the price in order to get the cage and the birds. And when he got the cage and the birds, he set the two birds free. So, two birds who were caged and were only gon' be toys for a little boy have now been set free. Two birds that were gonna be eaten up and destroyed have now been set free. But as good as all that is, there's one thing that's better. 'Cause as the birds began to fly away, and as the birds began to enjoy the freedom because the price had been paid, the birds looked back to the man who paid the price and began singing. Tweedly dee, tweedly dum. They began singing praises for the one who had delivered them.
I'm here to tell you Jesus saw Satan had you caged. Jesus saw the devil wanted to eat you up. But on the cross, he reached into his pocket and he paid the price in full. He has now opened the cage door so that he who the son sets free is free indeed. So now as you fly out of here to your car, as you fly out of here to your house. As you fly out of here to your job, don't forget to turn back and say, "Worthy is the Lamb". Don't forget to turn back and say, "Tweedly dee, tweedly dum". He's worthy to be praised. He's worthy to be praised.
Throughout the Old Testament, God has established a sacrificial system that would satisfy his just wrath against sin. The problem was that that system only offered temporary relief from the just judgment of a holy God. So, when Jesus Christ comes on the scene as the Lamb of God, he has fully satisfied the demands of God against the sinfulness of the human race. That's why he's called the Lamb, because lambs were used in the Old Testament as a temporary solution. But as the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ is the permanent solution for all sin, for all mankind, for all time.
So, when men respond in faith to the finished work of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God becomes their Lamb of God, so that now just as during the Passover, when I see the blood, I will pass over you. The death angel will no longer stop at your house. The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that the Lamb of God and his shed blood on the cross has so satisfied the demands of a just and holy God that when we apply the blood of that Lamb to our hearts, the death angel passes over us, and we no longer have to fear either physical death or eternal death because the blood of that lamb has eternal benefit to all who place faith alone in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and for the gift of eternal life.