We frequently think of Christ as the Lamb of God because of His sacrificial work in atoning for our sin — and rightly so. But the concept of Jesus as the Lamb is used only a handful of times in the New Testament. John the gospel writer quotes John the Baptist twice, referring to Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God” (Jn. 1:29, 36). And in his first letter, Peter refers to the believer’s eternal life being provided through, “precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pt. 1:19). And those are the only three references to Christ as the Lamb of God in the New Testament.
That is, they are the only three references until John writes the Revelation. And in that book, Jesus is referred to as God’s Lamb 31 times. But He is not just the Lamb that is sacrificed for sin. In Revelation, Jesus is also:
- The Lamb as King (7:17; 15:3)
- The Lamb enthroned (5:6, 8; 7:9-10; 22:1, 3)The Lamb as Judge (14:10)
- The Lamb wrathful (6:1, 7, 9, 16; 8:1)
- The Lamb worshipped (5:12-13)
- The Lamb sacrificed and slain (5:12; 7:14; 12:11; 13:8)
- The Lamb as owner of the Book of Life (13:8; 21:27)The Lamb as leader of the church (14:4)The Lamb as the Shepherd (7:17)
- The Lamb as victorious and overcoming King (14:1; 17:14)
- The Lamb as groom to His bride, the Church (19:7, 9; 21:9)
- The Lamb as the leader of the Apostles (21:14)The Lamb as the center and glory of Heaven (21:22-23)
Combined, these pictures of Christ as the Lamb offer us a more complete picture of what His sacrifice accomplished for us and who He is in His nature and person.
It might be tempting to think of the Lamb as being like the barnyard animal — needy, dependable, and helpless, though “cute” and desirable. Yet these pictures help us to understand that Jesus is not merely the sacrifice for sin but that he is strong, authoritative, and kingly. He is a Lamb that is infinitely worthy of worship for His sovereign position.
There are complexities and intricacies in God that are incomprehensible to our finite minds — and the more He reveals of Himself, the more we recognize His greatness, goodness, and the reason that we are to look at and contemplate and follow Him (which John the Baptist suggests with his word, “Behold” in Jn. 1:29, 36).
This Lamb is sacrificed and sufficient for the debt of our sin; and this Lamb is also the object of our eternal worship and all that we will ever need. The Lamb takes away our sin and brings us into fellowship with Him. Look at the Lamb of God — contemplate His worth as the Lamb and worship and follow Him for His authoritative work as the Lamb.
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.