Dear friends in Christ, there standeth one among you, whom you do know, by God’s grace: The very Lamb of God, sacrificed for the sin of the whole world. Sacrificed, but also risen from the grave. And He stands among you, and you do know Him. For you have been baptized into His death and resurrection. You have been partaking of His true body and blood, given and shed for you, for the remission of all your sins. You have been hearing His Word often, the very bread from heaven, the bread of life, which continues to feed and sustain your very soul, and keep the saving faith in you alive and healthy, as His Spirit continues to work in you through that same Word. No matter how much our physical health fails, the Word of God never fails to strengthen us where it counts the most, in our eternal soul.
Unfortunately, the Pharisees did not know Jesus. After John the Baptist told the Pharisees that he was not the Christ, then he really let the ball drop: “There standeth one among you, whom ye know not.”
They were unwilling to confess their sins, their self-righteousness. Why would they need to know this Jesus, when they believed they were holy and upright? They were good people, don’t you know? They said long prayers, they fasted often, they even tithed on their spices. And they always seemed to have the last word. If anything, this Jesus needed to know them. This Jesus could learn something from them. For they were children of Abraham...so they thought.
But Jesus is the very Lamb of God that takes away our sin. And so a big part of knowing Jesus, is also knowing that we are sinners, completely and utterly incapable of saving ourselves. Above all else, we need a Savior.
We need to know Him, the only Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In the parable of the ten virgins, what was it that the Groom said to the unprepared virgins? – with no oil for their lamps? They said, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” And He said, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” I don’t know you. And the doors were shut, for all eternity.
And so how important it is, of the utmost importance, that we know Him now, and that we continue to know Him. There standeth one among you, the very Lamb of God.
And He is for you, not against you. And He is even in you, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” He dwells in your heart and soul, by His Word, for your comfort, and assurance, saying, “your sins are taken away.”
There’s no question about it, and there’s no reason to doubt it. Didn’t Christ live, die, and rise again for you? And doesn’t that mean that the Father accepted His sacrifice for our sins? The Lamb of God taketh away the sin of the world. Even the cruelest sins of the most hardened criminals, are all taken away.
If only more believed it, and took it to heart. Not one soul has to perish. Whoever believes in Christ will not perish, but have everlasting life. He came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Here we are once again, focusing on things that must seem so strange to the world, being so close to Christmas. Instead of Santa Claus, we’re talking about John the Baptist, and his message of repentance, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”. Instead of the baby Jesus, we’re talking about the all grown up Jesus, to which John points, and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The one sacrifice for the sin of the whole world.
But isn’t this exactly when we need advent the most? When no one can seem to get their mind off of earthly wealth and presents. When people are even willing to injure each other to get first dibs on the best deals. “I gotta get my flat screen tv.” Maybe not in this specific way, but we find that our hearts too, are so willing to go along with the ways of the world. And so here comes John, “Prepare ye the way of the LORD.”
Our hearts must be ready. John is the voice of one crying in the wilderness, begging people to take heed: This world is not forever. Christ will come again. We must be ready. So he says, “make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”
It isn’t the terrain that needs to be landscaped. It isn’t our back yard that needs to be dug up, or that highway we wish could be smoothed out for a more enjoyable and easy ride. John is talking about the terrain of our hearts.
It’s not an easy truth to face, but we all need to change. We all need to cast out whatever offends our holy God. We all need to alter our behavior on a daily basis. Yet one standeth among you: The very Lamb of God. He takes away the sin of the world.
To know Him, is to know everything we need for salvation. To know Him, is to know freedom from sin. We don’t need to cling to any sin, or be controlled by any sin. For “if the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
To know Christ, is to know everything we need to be saved. Many want to claim that we haven’t gotten there yet. We have to do certain special works, or, we need to go to purgatory to have our sins taken away there. But no, Jesus is the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. To know Him, is to know everything we need for salvation.
So may we then continue to know Him, believe in Him, for He is our complete Savior. He says, “All things are now ready.” Simply believe and be saved.
May we continue to heed the message of John the Baptist, prepare the way of the Lord. We prepare, by turning from our sins, by the aid of God’s Spirit. We don’t do it alone, Christ is there standing among us, to be with us, and to help us every step of the way.
We prepare, that Christ may once again, come and enter our heart, and be born in us once again this Christmas. May we have a very Merry Christmas, by knowing Christ, and continuing to know Him. For He is the very Lamb of God, who taketh away our sin. In Jesus’ name. Amen.