Those were the words of John (inspired by the Holy Spirit) when he saw the Lord Jesus Christ according to his own account in John 1:29, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
What John said about Jesus in this verse is very important for us all to grasp. The truth contained in these words concerning Jesus matter for all eternity. Simply put, John is telling us that Jesus is the only One who has the power to take away our sins. Jesus is the only One who can forgive us all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). In Jesus, we have redemption in His blood, the forgiveness of sin according to the abundance of His glorious grace (Ephesians 1:7). It is Jesus alone who can cleanse our guilty consciences by His blood which was shed for us on the cross (Hebrews 9:9, 11-14).
In referring to Christ as the “Lamb of God,” John identifies Jesus as the One to whom all the Old Testament sacrifices pointed. Jesus is the Great Sacrifice by which the sin of man is atoned for and by which man is reconciled to God. Matthew Henry, commenting on this verse writes:
Of all the legal sacrifices he chooses to allude to the lambs that were offered, not only because a lamb is an emblem of meekness, and Christ must be led as a lamb to the slaughter (Isa. 53:7), but with a special reference, [1.] To the daily sacrifice, which was offered every morning and evening continually, and that was always a lamb (Ex. 29:38), which was a type of Christ, as the everlasting propitiation, whose blood continually speaks. [2.] To the paschal lamb, the blood of which, being sprinkled upon the door-posts, secured the Israelites from the stroke of the destroying angel. Christ is our passover, 1 Co. 5:7. He is the Lamb of God; he is appointed by him (Rom. 3:25), he was devoted to him (ch. 17:19), and he was accepted with him; in him he was well pleased. The lot which fell on the goat that was to be offered for a sin-offering was called the Lord’s lot (Lev. 16:8, 9); so Christ, who was to make atonement for sin, is called the Lamb of God.
But there is something else that John wants us to see – rather something that he wants us to do in response to the fact that Jesus Christ is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John wants us to cast the eye of faith upon the Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him alone for forgiveness and cleansing from sin. Henry’s comment on this sums it all:
It is our duty, with an eye of faith, to behold the Lamb of God thus taking away the sin of the world. See him taking away sin, and let that increase our hatred of sin, and resolutions against it. Let not us hold that fast which the Lamb of God came to take away: for Christ will either take our sins away or take us away. Let it increase our love to Christ, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, Rev. 1:5. Whatever God is pleased to take away from us, if withal he take away our sins, we have reason to be thankful, and no reason to complain.
And so with John’s testimony concerning Jesus, comes the call of faith to all sinners. John is calling us all to look to Christ and be saved. We are not to look to ourselves, but to Christ and Him alone. We must not look to our families, but to Christ alone. We must not look to our congregations or denominations. No, we must all look to Christ and Christ alone. Not once, not twice, but always! It must be Christ and Christ alone! He alone is the One who is able to cleanse us from our sin! He is the ONLY perfect and acceptable Lamb of God’s own choosing. He alone is the Author and Perfector our faith who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross and despised the shame and is now seated at the right hand of God Almighty (Hebrews 12:2) where He intercedes for us daily.
The gospel call to us all is, “Look to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22).