Why is Jesus Called the Lamb of God?

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

John 1:29

Jesus the Willing Sacrifice

The Bible highlights Jesus’ role as a willing Lamb of God. The Old Covenant sacrifices were according to the law and repeated year by year. They were only shadows of a reality that could not perfect the offeror (Hebrews 10:1). But God prepared a body for Jesus who offered Himself once for all (Hebrews 10:5-9).

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12).” 

Jesus Finished His Work

Jesus could sit because He finished His work. In the Old Testament temples, there was no place for the priests to sit because their work was never done.

Jesus the Passover Lamb

His Blood

The Jews celebrated Passover yearly to remember when God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. God “passed over” the houses of the Jews if they had sprinkled the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their houses:

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year…. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost of the houses in which they shall eat it (Exodus 12:5,7).”

His Substitution

Abraham prefigured Jesus when he obeyed God and offered his first-born son Isaac as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:7). But God spared Isaac at the last minute and provided a replacement, a ram caught in a thicket (Genesis 22:1-14). This pictured God providing a substitute for our sins also. 

His Salvation

We deserve death for our sins, but God gave His Son a body so He could die in our place. John (the Baptist) identified Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!” So, by simple faith in Jesus, we receive eternal life (John 3:15). 

I saw a Lamb in the midst of the throne … for You (Jesus) were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:6,9).”

Jesus the Lion of Judah

In contrast to His role as “lamb,” Jesus is also portrayed as the Lion of the tribe of Judah:

“Look! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed (Revelation 5:5).”

Jesus Resurrected and Ascended

The Contrast and Complement

The “Lion” contrasts with and complements His role as a Lamb. A lion is fierce and strong, a danger to enemies or prey. The resurrected and ascended Lamb (Jesus) is now a Lion.

The Prophesied Lion

Two thousand years before Jesus was born, Jacob predicted the Messiah would come as a lion through the tribe of Judah:

“Judah is a lion’s cub … he crouches and lies down like a lion; and as a lion, who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (the Messiah, Jesus) comes (Genesis 49:7,9).

Jesus, the Name Given Under Heaven

Jesus came and died; therefore, people must accept His sacrifice on their behalf (John 3:16-18). The Apostle Peter told the rulers and elders of Israel:

“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved (Acts 4:11-12).”

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