random thoughts and things from all saints youth cell groups

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

OK, take a deep breath. You'll need it.

"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" John 1: 29

Confusingly, Jesus is also called the "Lion of Judah" in Revelation 5:5. Is John having a senior moment here?! (John's gospel and Revelation were written by the same person, and he was knocking on by the time he wrote!)

Well not really.

Lambs in the OT were offered as sacrifices for the sins of the people of God. If you want to find out all the gory details have a read of Leviticus to find out all about it. But essentially, all through the Bible, we see that the outworking of sin, is always death. Sin leads to death. Sin distorts, twists and destoys God's good creation always ending in death and judgement. Sin has the whole of creation caught in its grip, and the whole of creation, along with us, according to the Bible is longing for the day when it will be set free! Like a never ending winter, where nothing grows, where everything is dead and dormant and no life or light can get a look in. And we know what sin is like, because we only have to look inside ourselves to see it. Our hearts are endless sources of hate, lies, deceit and malice.

What can we do?

People try all sorts of things to try and sort out the mess that our hearts, and consequently the world are in. Some try religion. They try and do things that will make God favourable to them. They try and do things which will change their hearts. They try and do things. Some try education. The more enlightened we are, the better we'll become. Some say there's nothing that can be done, so lets all just eat, drink and be merry and stuff everyone else. Some say it's only cooperation beween humans that will solve anything. And a million other proposed solution. All things we must do. Yet is all hopelessly inadequate.

Yet, here's John saying "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Here is good news at last! Someone who can take away the sin and set things right!

Here is the ultimate lamb, the one to whom every Old Testament was simply a dim, and imperfect picture of. God in Christ reconciling the world to himself, making all things new, and taking away the sin of the world. Jesus not only absorbs our sin into himself and bears its punishment, but the effects of sin in the whole of creation. The Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world" and not as we so often read just "the people of the world".

The eternal purpose of God in Christ, is not to steal off a bunch of disembodied souls to heaven after death, but here and now to be renewing and restoring people, communities and the whole world, bringing life from death, hope from hopelessness and forgiveness from judgement until that great and glorious day God finally and fully answers the Lords prayer that "Your Kingdom come on Earth, as it is in heaven" and we might be lost in wonder, love and praise for the Lamb seated on the throne.

And all possible, because the Lamb of God, who is the Lion of Judah came and took away the sin of the world.

Let's give the last word to Jonathan Edwards..

"And here is not only infinite strength and infinite worthiness, but infinite condescension, and love and mercy, as great as power and dignity... Here is infinite grace and gentleness to invite and embolden a poor, unworthy, fearful soul to come to it. If Christ accepts of you, you need not fear but that you will be safe, for he is a strong Lion for your defense. And if you come, you need not fear but that you shall be accepted, for he is like a Lamb to all that come to him, and receives then with infinite grace and tenderness."



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