Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29b).

This word is the Evangelist’s contribution toward the solution of the biggest problem in history—who is Jesus Christ? It is not enough to say. “Behold the Man,” “the Teacher,” “the Martyr.” We do not reach reality till we say, “Behold the Redeemer.” We do not see him clearly till we see him in relation to sin. It was sin that crucified Christ. The Lamb of God means sacrifice; it foreshadows the Cross. How then does the sacrifice of Christ take away sin?

I. The Cross Awakens Men to the Reality and the Consciousness of Sin. That is the first step toward taking it away. The lurid forms of sin are not the worst. Such sins as pride, jealousy, greed, hatred, and envy keep life from its power and peace, and at last may wreck the world. These things coming to a head crucified the Son of God. There was no other way of awakening the world but for him to die, to let sin take its full course and come to its tragic culmination in the cross of Calvary. “Behold the Lamb of God”!

II. The Crucified Christ Sets Us Free from Sin. Christ thus reveals the utter love and forgiveness of God, and enables us to make forgiveness ours. In the heart awakened to the fact of sin there is something that makes it terribly hard to realize and accept the forgiveness of God. But the vision of the One on the Cross brings home the amazing reality of God’s forgiveness. Before that vision of love sin cannot survive. Before that vision of love sin cannot endure.

Just here many people fall short of full salvation: the deliverance that would set them free from sin. “Take away” is the same verb that John uses about the stone that hid the Lord and held him in the grave. The taking away of sin is ...

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