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that bright and glorious period when the King of Zion should commence his reign on earth :
Beneath its trees that spread their blooming light
The kingdom of Jesus is the only one that we are certain will end in brightness and glory. All others may set in darkness.
This one has not been built up by the sword, and therefore will not perish with the sword.' It is a kingdom of love and peace. .
Violence is not known within its borders. It was ushered into the world with hosts of angels, uttering, in strains unknown before, PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN; and it will end when Jesus 'shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, theñ shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.'
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
John i. 29.
Jesus is thus called in one more instance, and that in verse thirty-six of this same chapter. He is, however, called a lamb simply in thirty-two other places. The word is applied to christians, John xxi. 15. It is applied by Jeremiah to himself, ch. xi. 19.
. It is used parabolically in reference to a man's wife, 2 Sam. xii. 3, 4.
John was extremely happy in the application of this word to the blessed Redeemer. Nothing could have been more beautiful and striking. Isaiah also prefigures the Saviour in this manner, ch. liii. 7, 8.
We intend, first, to show the beauty of the comparison, and secondly, the great work which the Lamb of God came to perform.
Some have thought that John saw a number of lambs going to Jerusalem to be slain on the occasion of the passover, and that this sight suggested the idea, as if he had said, in comparison, 'Behold the true, the most excellent Lamb of God,' &c. Be that as it may, there is no creature in the whole animal kingdom more delightful to look upon than the lamb. In it, we behold innocence, harmlessness and purity. Who can look on the lamb as it frolicks and gambols in the green pasture without feeling emotions of
delight and pleasure? It seems to feel its own security and to exult in its own innocence. In looking upon it, our passions are calmed, and our affections seem to partake of the innocence that we admire. But we must not dwell on the type, but pass to the reality. “John,' says Dr. Clarke, ' pointing to Christ, calls him, emphatically, the Lamb of God—all the lambs which had hitherto been offered had been furnished by men; this was provided by GOD, as the only sufficient and available sacrifice for the sin of the world. In three essential respects this Lamb differed from those by which it was represented : 1st. It was the Lamb of God; the most excellent, and most available. 2d. It made an atonement for sin; it carried away sin in reality, the others only representatively. 3d. It carried away the sin of the WORLD; whereas the other was offered only in behalf of the Jewish people.
But John presents something more than the mere fact that Christ was the Lamb of God. He also shows the great object that God had in view in sending this Lamb among men.
It was 'to take away the sin of the world. This same object is ascribed to this Lamb in several other instances. Thus, we are told by Peter in his sermon before those who denied the Holy One,' that 'Unto you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning every one of you away from your iniqui
The same blessed truth is presented in another form by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Hebrew church: 'For now once in the end of the world. [age]
* Acts jïi. 26.
hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.'* But we cannot multiply quotations. We see a great and sublime work to be accomplished by the Lamb of God. To say that sufficient power and wisdom were not given for the accomplishment of this great object, would seem to be an impeachment of the character of the Being who sent this Lamb into the world. To dwell, therefore, on the certainty of the work, is wholly unnecessary. Its nature would better occupy our time if our limits would allow. 4 remarķ must suffice: 'Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world;' not who taketh away the punishment due to sin; not who reconciles God, or endures his wrath. These objects were not embraced in his mission. He came to take away sin,' as the physician takes away the disorder from his patient. As the one restores the body to health, so the other restores the mind. But one may fail for want of skill, but the other is sure to accomplish his work. Such then is the nature of that salvation which the Lamb of God came to effect for the human family.
A moral view, and we must close. Let us look to this Lamb and imbibe his spirit. He was harmless and undefiled. In him every virtue met. Let us then gaze upon the beauties of his character, upon his harmlessness and innocence, till our souls become assimilated to that blessed and pure spirit so gloriously manifested during the whole of his ministry upon earth.t
Heb. ix. 26. † For some farther illustrations, see title Lion, where Jesus is seen in the character of both the Lion and the LAMB.
• Behold! I have given him for a witness to the people; a Leader and commander to the people.'
Isa. lv. 4.
CHRISTIANS generally suppose the Messiah to have been intended in this passage. It is the only instance in all the Scriptures where he is thus called, though similar terms are frequently employed in reference to him, such as Captain, Commander, both of which may be found in their appropriate places.
The signification of the word is too evident to need criticism. The office or title thus ascribed to the Messiah was gloriously sustained by him throughout the whole of his eventful life, and the Christian religion every where directs us to look to him in this light: 'Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.'* In order to see the beauty and glory of this title, it may be well to see the grand results that will follow from giving Jesus a Leader and commander to the people. The chapter where this declaration is found, opens with a gracious invitation: 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and
* Heb. xii. 2.