Let us look at four different aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ under His title of “Lamb.” Turn first of all to John 1:35-42. John the Baptist says, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Now, a man’s ways declare what the man is, and as a lamb is the symbol of meekness, gentleness, and lowliness, so the blessed Lord Jesus was characterised by these qualities. Listen to His own words: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest to your souls.” A meek man is a self-denying man—one who never stands up for his own rights, even supposing he had any. We read the man Moses was meek above all men which were upon the face of the earth, and yet Moses was but a contrast to the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God. Moses “spake unadvisedly with his mouth,” but the Lord could challenge His enemies with the question, “Which of you convinces me of sin?” There was no guile found in His mouth. He was more meek than Moses.
THE WALK OF THE LAMB
A review of the path of the Lord Jesus is most refreshing to the heart: to trace His pathway, and notice all His acts and ways, draws forth the heart in praise and worship; and it was the walk of the Lord that drew forth from the Baptist the exclamation, “Behold the Lamb of God.” He “looked on Jesus as he walked.” His soul was constrained to own Him as such by the moral beauty and more than human dignity of His walk. Thus the Lord’s ways told out who He was. He was the Lamb of God. His life proclaimed His divinity. In ministry, to hold forth the person of the Lord Jesus always brings a blessing with it.
We have Him first as dwelling with the Father from all eternity. “The Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” Then, in view of the work of redemption, we can hear the voice of the blessed Servant of God and man saying, whilst still in the council-chamber of heaven, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God;” and then, becoming incarnate He did not despise the virgin’s womb, nor the manger at Bethlehem, nor the circumstances of shame and suffering incidental to His path of self-renouncing love; and, yet a babe, He is recognised by aged Simeon in the memorable words, “Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”
Again we see Jesus, at twelve years of age, in the presence of the ancients, “hearing them, and asking them questions.” Years elapse, and we find Him baptised of John in Jordan, and a voice from heaven saying to Him, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” And lastly, we have His wonderful testimony of three years and a half, in which He continually went about doing good. He became a a man that He might reveal the Father. Now, the effect of John’s testimony was that two of his own disciples heard him speak, and followed Jesus: a certain result from such ministry.
THE WORK OF THE LAMB
We have the second aspect in verses 29-34 of the same chapter. “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” It is the same introduction so far, only another element is brought in—that of sin-bearer. He was God’s Lamb, the Lamb provided by God in order to meet God’s claims. You will never understand and really enjoy the Gospel until you see the source of it to be in the heart of God. Hence we read, that “God so loved the world.” You may think of your sins or demerit, if you will, as bringing Him, but it was God Who gave Him. The love is on God’s side, and He gave His Son. It was not the death of Christ that procured the love of God, but just the reverse.
Now sacrifice attaches to the word lamb in Scripture, and the Lamb of God became the sin-bearer. The Lord Jesus bore the sins of believers, and He was also “made sin” for them; but here we read of the “sin of the world,” a wider thought than either the sins or sin of believers. The death of Christ reaches farther in its effects than the salvation of believers. Thus we read, in Colossians 1:19-20, “Having made peace through the blood of his cross, to reconcile all things unto himself; whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death.” Here all things in heaven and on earth are to be reconciled by the blood of the cross, whilst believers are already reconciled through the same blessed means. So, in Hebrews 9:23, “the things in the heavens must be purified.” This helps to explain the expression, “sin of the world.” The work to accomplish this has been done, only we wait for power to make it good. In the millennium, righteousness will reign; but in the new heaven and the new earth it will dwell. And in them we shall see the full results of the cross—the reconciliation of all things, and the everlasting expulsion of sin from those new scenes and that new creation where “all things are of God.”
Meanwhile, through the work of the Lamb of God, the forgiveness of sins is preached, and whosoever, by grace, believes in Him is justified from all things; and not only so, but is enjoined to reckon himself dead to sin, and alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
THE WORSHIP OF THE LAMB
Now let us turn to Revelation 5:11-12, where we shall find the third aspect of the Lamb, “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”
This is a different scene. It is not a Lamb on the altar, but a Lamb worshipped by the hosts of heaven, yet the same Lamb. Oh! how refreshing the sight. Once the object of scorn and hatred, He is now the centre of universal adoration!
Once they bowed the knee before Him in mockery and proud contempt, now they fall before Him in adoring worship. Once when on Calvary’s cross “sitting down they watched him there,” now concentric circles of living creatures, elders, and myriad hosts of angels prostrate themselves before the enthroned Lamb of God.
“Four and twenty elders rise
From their princely station,
Shout His glorious victories,
Sing His glad salvation.
Cast their crowns before the throne,
Cry in reverential tone—
Holy, holy, holy One,
Glory be to God alone.
“Hark, these thrilling symphonies
Seem within to seize us;
Add we to their holy lays—
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
Sweetest note in seraph’s song,
Sweetest name on mortal tongue,
Sweetest anthem ever known—
Jesus, Jesus, reigns alone.”
They say with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and glory, and blessing.” He was in weakness here, but He exercises power there. He was poor here, had not where to lay His head, but there He has riches. Here He was defamed, there He receives honour, and glory, and blessing. What a change for the Lamb! From the cross of shame to the throne of glory; and of a truth He deserves such exaltation.
Some may not know what worship is. Do you think it is merely going on your knees and saying your prayers, or coming to hear the Gospel preached? To worship is to render what is worthy, but in prayer you ask for the supply of need, and in hearing you come for instruction. In worship the soul gives to God that of which He is worthy. Many Christians are more like beggars than worshippers. We may have our needs; but have we not more mercies than necessities? Worship is the enjoyment of God’s company, delight in His love, giving back to Him what He has first given me. If we only lived more fully in this consciousness that our cup is flowing over, as in Psalm 23, we would beg less and worship more. The Father knows our need, but He seeks our worship. Dear fellow Christians may our hearts flow over with streams of gratitude.
THE WRATH OF THE LAMB
The fourth aspect is in Revelation 6:12-17. It is not the walk, nor the work, nor the worship, but the wrath of the Lamb that we find here. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” What? the wrath of the Lamb? Yes, a paradox, but an awful fact; a seeming contradiction, but a terrible truth! Ye who despise Him, tremble! That hand which you nailed to the cross shall wield the sceptre. That brow which you tore by the crown of thorns shall wear the diadem of glory. He who was led as a Lamb to the slaughter shall sit as a Judge on the throne.
Meekness is not weakness, gentleness is not feebleness, lowliness is not impotence, and, He, who in the days of His flesh, displayed the grace of the Lamb, will exhibit then the omnipotence of the Judge of all; and woe to the wicked in that day! Futile will be their call to the mountains, vain their cry to the rocks—the mountains will not fall and the rocks will not hide—but the fearful vision of the Lamb’s righteous wrath must be beheld by all. “Every eye shall see Him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” There is not an unconverted man who shall not see Jesus Christ some day! If you look to Him now you will find Him a Saviour, when you see Him then you will find Him a Judge. If you come to Him now you will find mercy: if you stand before Him then you will be driven away to “drink of the wine of the wrath of God … in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”