by Tami Rudkin
“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 l:29).
Dirty and dusty roads, dirty and corrupt minds, dirty and compromised religion.
Sometimes the dirt was a natural phenomenon of living in an arid, sweltering land. As the people walked along the streets doing business, visiting nearby villages, or tending sheep, dirt swirled about their feet. It covered the whole person in a fine layer.
But the dirt that was most disgusting, most bothersome, most likely to cloud life’s joy was the dirt of the soul. Those emotions that a person experienced in his deepest heart or entertained in his mind, and lived in the flesh, sucked away vitality. It was sin — those things, thoughts, and actions that separated men and women from their Creator. It was the difference between pure and putrid, right and wrong, healthy and wasting, dirty and cleansed.
They knew about dirt.
Full of awe
I can see the cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist, in my mind’s eye: standing in the midst of life’s filth, the lone prophetic voice calling dirty people to a time of repentance, a time of cleansing. His voice must have echoed a sense of urgency, because many did turn away from their old lifestyle — even before they met the One he spoke of.
Was John standing in water up to his waist that day in the Jordan River? Did he have a new believer in his arms, ready to baptize, when he saw Jesus? Or was John sitting on a rock, proclaiming the coming Savior when the sinless, spotless One approached? Who knows for sure? But we can hear in his words the posture of his heart: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
John was thrilled, amazed, in awe. Surrounded by dust and dirt, he knew the perfect Lamb had ventured to the earth. Jesus was the pure and holy one, the one who would be the faultless sacrifice, the one who would wash away the dirt of the world.
Significance of the Lamb
The Lamb of God. Did the listeners that day understand what it meant for John to call Jesus the Lamb who would take away the world’s sin? They had for hundreds of years celebrated the Passover of death’s angel with the pure, unblemished male lamb. Often they recalled painting the lamb’s blood upon the door’s wooden beams so that the angel of death would pass over. Every year they reminisced for the family the freedom that followed that night.
Did they catch the meaning of John’s proclamation about Jesus? Did they understand that this man, the Son of God, the Lamb, would be the perfect, final sacrifice for the dirt of their souls? No longer would they need to offer an animal sacrifice to cover their sins. No longer would they barter in the market place for the cheapest price of the sacrifice required to make them presentable again. No longer could a priest make atonement for the sins of the people.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, walked into their presence. With complete humility, with compassionate love, and with eternity in mind, He laid down His life. He would not balk at His duty or fight against the executioner, for His purpose was to be the stainless sacrifice, offered once and for all for the nation of God. They knew about dirt and He knew about cleansing. Dirty and grimy streets. Dirty and degenerate minds. Dirty and diluted religion.
We, the civilized nations of the twentieth century, know about dirt. Our streets are lined with smut. Our skies blanket us with smog. Our hearts are filled with sin. Yes, we are most familiar with the dirt of the soul. Some of us simply don’t keep house very well, so the dirt accumulates. Some, however, have left the windows and doors wide open. Intuitively we know that Satan’s realm is lined with the dirt that drifts in through the corners of our hearts.
We have sacrificed our values, our families, our individualism in search of contentment, happiness, and well-being. There on the altar of compromise are the bloody and rancid remains. But it is of no avail. Nothing we can give will be enough, nothing we can buy in the market will provide enough, nothing religion can offer will cover our sins enough. Only Jesus is enough.
We know about dirt and He knows about cleansing.
Cleansing from the Lamb
As the Lamb of God walked into the presence of John the Baptist that day, so He walks through the corridors of time, without regret or resentment, to take away the sins of all people– your sins, my sins. Spotless, He became sacrifice for a selfish, sinful, dirty world. That sacrifice, offered once, serves as the final payment for all who will call Him Jesus, Lord — the Lamb of God. With our acceptance of His restitution, the fine layer of dirt that we have become so accustomed to is blown away. In its place is the purity, the long searched-for fulfillment, and the reality of relationship with Jesus who gave so uniquely of Himself.
What will be our heart’s posture this day? Will we scream with the fickle crowd, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Or will we join the devoted John, with a heart full of wonder, and declare, “Behold, the Lamb of God — that perfect one — who takes away the sins of the world!”
About the Author