Jesus, God’s perfect sacrificial Lamb, had no sin. Yet He identified with us so that God would forgive us.
When John the Baptist came, he knew that God had called him to identify the Lamb for God’s ultimate Passover sacrifice. He must have looked at many a man the second time—“Could that be he? Is that he?”—only to turn away in disappointment when he saw the mark of sin. But under this urge from the Holy Spirit, John had the eyes of his spirit opened when he saw Jesus Christ. He said, “Behold the Lamb of God,” and thus identified Him as the one who was to come.
When Jesus approached John to be baptized—to be identified with sinful man and to fulfill the Law—John responded, “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” (Matthew 3:14). John knew that Jesus, God’s perfect sacrificial Lamb, had no sin. He knew that he needed to be identified with Christ in His death that his sins might be forgiven. But Jesus said, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15, KJV). So the Lord Jesus was baptized—identified with His sinful people under the Law of God.
We cannot understand this incident apart from verses like Galatians 4:4–5, which read, “But when the time had the Law. In this way He would accomplish His purpose to save His people from their sin.
Here in this act of baptism Jesus was being identified as the Lamb, God’s provision under the Law for the forgiveness of sins. But just as a Jew choosing a lamb for the Passover could judge only external flaws, John could not see what was within Jesus. So at the very moment the Lord Jesus came away from the water, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon Him, and the Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). How wonderful it was for God to speak so that we could know that while John had looked on the exterior and called Jesus the Lamb of God, God Himself had looked upon the heart and affirmed, “Yes, this is My Lamb. This is My beloved Son.”
Notice the wording of Mark 1:11. It is a statement by God made to Jesus, the Father talking to the Son. In this verse, we have first of all the guarantee of the person of Christ. Who is Jesus? He is Jehovah God. He was begotten of God, without a human father, entering this world as the Word made flesh. That is why God speaks to Him this way.
- Where does the title “lamb of God” come from?
- What does it mean that Christ saves us from our sins?