Word for Word 2/15/17
The apostle John writes: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
In the end there are only 2 religions in the world. One looks to man and his good works for salvation and the other one looks to Jesus and His works for salvation. The one that looks to Jesus and His works for salvation is the Christian religion and the one that looks to man and his good works for salvation is all other religions of the world.
John tells us about the Christian religion, the one that looks to Jesus and His works for salvation. He says: “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
In the OT God told the Israelites to look at the serpent lifted up on a pole, and when they did they would be cured of leprosy. And so too John says in our text: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
We don’t have leprosy, literally, but we all do have a sin disease that needs healing. And we feel the symptoms. We call it guilt. It might be something in the distant past that comes back to haunt us. Maybe it’s sexual sins where we lusted after strange flesh. There are also sins of selfishness that has caused us to have thoughts of revenge, jealousy or hold a grudge against our neighbor. We don’t have leprosy, literally, but we all do have a sin disease that needs healing. And we feel the symptoms. We feel the guilt. Maybe sometimes we wish we could somehow turn back the hands of time and undo our sin.
That’s the reason Jesus came. He came to take away our sin. He came to take away those sins that give us a guilty conscience. All those sins, yes, every, single, one of them Jesus has came to take away.
When Jesus went to the cross, He brought all your sins with Him and not only yours but also the sins of the whole world. Look up to the cross. See Jesus there suffering and dying for your sin. Look up in faith and your relationship with God will be restored. John says to us today, “there is hope for sinners.” “Look here” he says “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Look to Jesus in faith, and receive His healing, His forgiveness.
The religion that says we should look to yourself and your good works for salvation makes a lot of sense to us. It is the religion we were born to believe by nature. But it’s not the religion of the Bible. It’s not the Christian religion. And it’s not the religion about Jesus. It’s the false religion that imagines that I can make up for my sin by good works. But it doesn’t work. It’s like the rabbit chasing the carrot that it is never able to catch - When have I done enough and the works that I did do, could they have been done better? Only the Christian religion says that we are saved by the works of someone else, Jesus. God punished Him for our sin when He suffered and died on the cross guilty of our sin.
If you know that you are a sinner, then also know that the Bible says Jesus has taken all your sin away. And this forgiveness is yours to claim as a free gift by faith alone. That’s the Christian religion. It’s all about Jesus. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Amen.
King of Grace Lutheran Church