“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
A chill stampedes across my skin, raising goose bumps in its wake. The wild man in his rough clothing and snarled hair points to another man as he says the words.
I have been at the Jordan River for several days. First, I only came to see this guy who shouted and dunked people in the filthy river. Everyone talked about him. He was the first prophet Jehovah had sent in 400 years.
My eyes followed the line of John the baptizer’s gnarled finger. A plain-faced man with shoulder-length brown hair and a well-trimmed beard shuffled along the edge of the crowd.
Could it be? He seemed so ordinary.
Everyone awaited Messiah. He would deliver us from our Roman oppressors and establish his father David’s throne in Israel. What did John call him?
The Lamb of God. Images of the Passover lamb sacrificed by my father swam into view. He always purchased the softest, gentlest baby from a local herder. It stayed in the house with us for the entire week before the feast.
On the eve of the Passover, father sliced the lamb’s throat and my mother prepared the savory herbs, roasting the lamb whole over the fire. I remember the first year, I could hardly choke down the meat. I kept seeing the adorable fluffy face and hearing its bleating.
The lamb reminded us of God’s deliverance. The great prophet Moses led my forefathers out of 400 years of bondage in Egypt the day after Passover. The blood of the lamb painted on the door lintels preserved the firstborn inside the house.
400 years? 400 years! The new prophet, John, came to announce the arrival of our deliverer after 400 years of silence. Not a coincidence.
I scanned the crowd but I couldn’t locate the man the baptizer had indicated. If he was the Lamb of God, it meant he would have to be sacrificed.
Icy realization caused me to shiver. Beside me, my friend frowned. Sweat rolled down the side of her face, shielded by her linen shawl.
A lamb always paid with its life. Jehovah required blood to make an atonement for sin. If this man would die, he would be the final sacrifice. Eternal atonement would be found in his shed blood.
I silently prayed that the man would return. I would follow him. He would teach us how to please Jehovah.
Prayers were answered. The very next day while I watched John baptizing again, he announced, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
I wasn’t the only one who turned and followed after God’s lamb. It was the first day of my new life.
Up next: Jesus the Son of God