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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God . . .”—1 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)
If you were asked to summarize the main message of the Bible in a single sentence, what would your answer be? Hopefully, your answer would come close to what the apostle Peter wrote in his first letter in the passage above, because it’s basically what the Bible is all about. It’s about Christ suffering for our sins so that we could be forgiven and made right with God.
That’s the gospel in a nutshell, and it’s really woven throughout the Bible from start to finish. Just like every spring and stream eventually flowing into the ocean, every detail in Scripture eventually flows into the gospel. Jesus, Himself, stated that all Scripture eventually points to Him (John 5:39). And it’s John the Baptist, in the beginning of John’s Gospel, who makes one of the most memorable of these connections: “John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’” (John 1:29 NKJV).
John refers to Jesus as “The Lamb of God.” To the casual 21st century observer in the Western hemisphere, that might not mean much. But in John’s day, it was a picture that got everyone’s attention.
In the Old Testament, the lamb served as the necessary sacrifice that was offered by God’s people to temporarily cover their sins. They were as a sort of “do over” and “stopgap” that would reset the clock until a person would sin again (which wouldn’t take very long), and need to select the next lamb to be sacrificed. It was a system without any end in sight because of sin’s power and pervasiveness.
But here, John declares that the game has changed when he says that Jesus is “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He’s saying that the old sacrificial system, with its countless sacrificial lambs, is being replaced by The Lamb, the eternal Lamb of God who isn’t a mere stopgap for sin. But who actually removes sin by covering it once and for all for anyone who would receive this sacrifice in faith.
God personally came to sacrifice Himself because only He was greater than sin’s power over us. He was the only Lamb capable of setting us free, and this picture John paints for us is truly worth a thousand words.
DIG: What is the main message of the Bible?
DISCOVER: What picture does John paint? How do/should you respond to all of this?
DISPLAY: Spend time today reflecting on the Lamb of God and His sacrifice for us. Consider what life would be like if we were still bound by sin and the old system of sacrifice.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.