And looking on Jesus as he walked, he said, Behold the Lamb of God!
I. THE IMPORT OF THE APPELLATION.
1. It had respect to the personal character of Christ. He was a perfect pattern of(1) innocence, and(2) patience. It was thus that He illustrated, in His own example, the nature and genius of the gospel dispensation, as superior to every other.
2. It had a distinct reference to the great design of His appearance and death. It marks out His sacrificial character, prefigured by the legal offerings, more particularly the paschal lamb, the most ancient and important.
(1) The passover commemorated a great deliverance, and prefigured a greater.
(2) The passover averted an inevitable destruction; so did the sacrifice of Christ.
(3) In both cases there is no natural connection between the means and the end; the benefit is moral, not physical. The sprinkling blood was simply of Divine appointment, as a sign to arrest the progress of the destroying angel. So between the sacrifice of Christ and the expiation of guilt the relation is moral, resulting from the will of God.
(4) The personal qualities in the two victims are similar. The lamb was to be without spot or blemish; so was Christ.
(5) The blood of the one had to be sprinkled, so that of the Other must be applied.
(6) While many of the legal sacrifices were offered by individuals, the paschal lamb was required to be slain and offered by the whole congregation of Israel, it being understood that he who neglected this important sacrifice, would lose its benefit — would be cut off from the congregation. "Behold" [here] "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!"(7) The time of slaying in both cases was the evening.
(8) Not a bone was broken in either.
(9) The paschal lamb was prepared by fire, signifying the agonies of the Lamb of God. How strangely mistaken, therefore, those who represent Christ's death as an example or a martyrdom for truth.
II. THE SPIRIT AND DESIGN OF THE EXCLAMATION. It expresses the claim of Christ to attention from beings of every order.
1. Those who remain, as sinners, in their original character and state. There are three qualities which entitle an object to our regard:(1) Intrinsic greatness — e.g., the wonders of the material world; those of the intellectual and moral universe; but here is something incomparably greater — Incarnate Deity.
(2) Novelty. What so original as the Invisible Creator clothed in mortal flesh; the Ancient of Days cradled as an Infant; He who upholdeth all things sinking under a weight of suffering; the Lord of Glory expiring on the cross; the Light of the world sustaining an awful eclipse; the Sun of Righteousness immerged in the shadow of death?
(3) Usefulness. The Lamb of God is the only Saviour.
2. Those who have repented and believed. The efficacy of this sacrifice covers all the needs of the spiritual life.
3. The redeemed in the world of glory. They owe their position and their continuance in it to the Lamb of God.
4. The holy angels, who may probably be secured in that felicity to which saints are promoted, by the mediation of Jesus Christ.
5. God Himself. To Him the Redeemer is an object of complacency and satisfaction.
Parallel VersesKJV: And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!