Behold the Lamb of God

One of the most moving experiences of my life has been singing annually in Handel's Messiah. And without fail, the second section, the Passion section, reduces me to tears.

It's really the chorus "Behold the Lamb of God" that does it.

John the Baptist used those words when he saw Jesus for the first time. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29, KJV). It was the first public announcement of the sort.

Handel used these words differently. Through the music alone, you can tell that we are not standing in the Jordan preparing for a baptism as John the Baptist was. Instead, we are standing before the cross looking at the one who "taketh away the sins of the world." The emphasis is on the sin--our sin--that put him there. This is the reason I choke up every time I sing this chorus.

The Apostle John used the words in yet a different way. As he was weeping that no one was worthy to open the seal of the book of judgment, an elder silenced him with "behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book." And then John sees Him--"a Lamb as it had been slain" (Rev. 5:5-6, KJV). John saw Christ as the crucified Lamb that had returned in the power of a Lion.

This is such a beautiful picture of Easter--Christ first being proclaimed as the Lamb, then as the One who takes away the sin, and finally as a returning Lion who is the only One worthy of executing judgment.

Because of this, we know that the story isn't over. We are waiting for His return. And because of His faithfulness in the past, we know that He will return again as the Lion of Judah. Hallelujah! This is really something to celebrate this Easter!

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