In William Blake’s poem “The Lamb,” a child asks the small creature, “Dost thou know who made thee?” The answer is found in the second stanza: “He is calléd by thy name, For he calls himself a Lamb: He is meek and he is mild, He became a little child: I a child and thou a lamb, We are calléd by his name.”
Interestingly, in the Gospels only one person called Jesus the “Lamb of God”: John the Baptist (vv. 29, 36). What did John mean when he gave Jesus this title? First, Jesus would be the perfect sacrifice “who takes away the sin of the world” (cf. 1 John 2:2). In addition, he may have known that Jesus would fulfill the symbolism of the Passover lamb (see July 24). Just as that lamb’s blood on the doorposts saved the Israelites’ lives, so also Jesus’ blood would bring redemption to the world.
Through God’s direct revelation (v. 33) John learned that Jesus was the Messiah and that he was to be the forerunner, preparing the way (v. 30). The entire purpose of John’s ministry was to reveal Jesus (v. 31). When he baptized Jesus, God publicly showed His approval (v. 32). Jesus was indeed “God’s Chosen One” or the “Son of God” (v. 34)! John specifically pointed out Jesus to two of his own disciples: Andrew and, according to tradition, John. This was his way of encouraging them to follow Jesus (v. 37). Andrew went and told Peter (v. 41) who also chose to follow Jesus. Most leaders try to gather followers and not give them away, but John the Baptist was faithful and obedient to his identity and calling. He would “become less,” and this was not a sad but rather a joyful thing (John 3:27–30).
>> Do we have the humble spirit of John the Baptist? Are we content to play a supporting role? Is it our goal to “become less” so God can be glorified?