Behold the Lamb of God …
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." (John 1:29-31)
τη επαυριον βλεπει τον ιησουν ερχομενον προς αυτον και λεγει ιδε ο αμνος του θεου ο αιρων την αμαρτιαν του κοσμου (John 1:29 Wescott & Hort)
Greek meanings of the words in John 1:29:
Behold = see
Lamb = masculine lamb
of God = the Supreme Divinity
who takes away = to raise up, elevate, lift up; to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to bear; to bear away what has been raised, carry off; do away with; cause to cease
the sin = missing the mark; that which is done wrong, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act; collectively, the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many
of the world = the world, the universe; the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family; the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ; the aggregate of things earthly; any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort; the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews
This passage is so awesome! I have been thinking about it all day. John the Baptist sees Jesus. He had already been shown who Jesus was by a visible revelation of the Spirit of God (what a privilege). Next day, he sees Jesus, and in excitement, (I imagine) John proclaims “Behold!” This word is also translated in the newer versions “Look!” He tells his followers to direct their attention to the theanthropic being – the eternal Godhead in bodily form. This word echoes down through the ages … off the pages of Scripture … and right into my ear: Look!
... the lamb of God …
I don't think this means the harmless one from God. This hearkens to the fulfillment of the types that these animals are in the OT (that was the only Bible around at this time.) Lambs were there at passover as their blood on the doorposts was used to save the Israelites from death. They were sometimes used for sacrifice in the temple. Their close cousin, the goat, was used to signify carrying away of the sin of the people on the Day of Atonement. This is a special lamb, though ... He is the lamb of God.
... who takes away the sin …
This lamb of God raises up, takes upon himself and carries off the sin … the missing the mark, the violation of God’s law in thought and action … the whole mess of it! He does away with it; it has no eternal consequence once he lifts it up and carries it off. When His ministry is carried to its ultimate, He will do away with sin for good. Some day, there will be no more sin at all. This is a certain and sure future … only because of the lamb of God who takes away the sin...
... of the world!
If this word means all the inhabitants of the earth, the human family, the ungodly multitude, the whole mass of men alienated from God ... then this is quite a feat that this lamb will perform. Will he take away all that sin, all that missing the mark and violating of God? What a wonder if He takes it on for the whole world! But, even if He only takes it on for “a collection of the particulars of any sort" … the “world of the elect” … it is still such an amazing endeavor for one person, just one lamb.
Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Look at Him!