When Jesus is called the Lamb of God in John 1:29 and John 1:36, it is referring to Him as the perfect and ultimate sacrifice for sin. In order to understand who The Messiah was and what He did, we must begin with the Old Testament, which contains prophecies concerning the coming of The Messiah as a “guilt offering” (Isaiah 53:10).
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. | Hebrews 4:15
The whole sacrificial system established by God in the Old Testament set the stage for the coming of Jesus The Messiah, who is the perfect sacrifice God would provide as atonement for the sins of His people (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 10).
The sacrifice of lambs played a very important role in the Jewish religious life and sacrificial system. When John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), the Jews who heard him might have immediately thought of any one of several important sacrifices.
With the time of the Passover feast being very near, the first thought might be the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. The Passover feast was one of the main Jewish holidays and a celebration in remembrance of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.
The slaying of the Passover lamb and the applying of the blood to doorposts of the houses (Exodus 12:11-13) is a beautiful picture of The Messiah’s atoning work on the cross. Those for whom He died are covered by His blood, protecting us from the angel of (spiritual) death.
- Luke 23:41 — 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
- John 12:32 — 32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
- Hebrews 4:15 — 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
- Hebrews 7:26 — 26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
- 1 Peter 2:22 — 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;
- Isaiah 53:9 — 9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.