"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29 NIV)
“Upon a life I did not live, upon a death I did not die; another’s life, another’s death, I stake my whole eternity.” (Horatius Bonar)
From Sunday's sermon by David Kingston:
Before we end let us make sure we understand the implications of John’s statements. There are two major claims that we need to understand and make part of our lives. There are probably some of you here this morning who are thinking “I would like to become a Christian, to know the forgiveness offered by Jesus. I can see the peace and joy in the lives of Christians that I know, and I want to have this same peace and joy. But how can I know this forgiveness? How can I stand before a holy God and know that my sins are forgiven?” The apostle John gives us the answer in a nutshell right here at the beginning of the gospel by quoting John the Baptist. John called Jesus “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Here is your answer: God Himself has provided the lamb as a perfect sacrifice to pay the price that we could never pay. Jesus, the God-man, the one who was and is both wholly God and yet wholly man, paid the price that we could not pay. And this death was not just for the nation of Israel, it was not just for the Jews. The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Jesus’ death was for everyone; there is no race, no nationality, no ethnicity, no socio-economic status excluded. And that, my dear seeking friend, includes you, whether you are from the wilds of SW Virginia or the urban chaos of northern Virginia, whether from the USA or from another country, whether male or female, old or young. If you are living and breathing you are part of the world that Jesus came to die for, and His death has paid the price for your sins. As Horatius Bonar wrote “Upon a life I did not live, upon a death I did not die; another’s life, another’s death, I stake my whole eternity.”
But there is a second conclusion we need to draw. John understood his ministry to be that of getting a road ready for the king to ride on and to enter a city. In this analogy our lives are like cities, with roads leading up to the city gates. But if you are not a believer in Jesus, your road is full of potholes and the gate is locked shut against the king, so that he cannot enter. The potholes may be small or large, but they are there. And how did John prepare the way? How did he get the road ready? He called people to repentance: Mark 1:4-5 “And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” And this is a perfect illustration of what it means to become a believer in Jesus and have him enter your life as king and emperor. Before Jesus can enter our lives as the king and LORD that He is, we need to make sure the road is ready for Him. And that means getting the potholes fixed and the boulders removed, or to change to biblical language, we need to repent of our sins and open up the gates of our town so that the rightful king Jesus can enter in and take control. So if you want to become a Christian, the first step is to acknowledge that you are a sinner before a holy God, and come to him with a genuine sorrow for your sins and genuine desire for Him to take over your life as your Lord and your king. So there is road work ahead!