God gave John the Baptist a knowledge of the basic nature of Christ’s mission for he was to be the herald of the coming of Messiah. John’s mind was illuminated by the Holy Spirit and he understood the Messianic prophecy of Isa. 53. He knew that the Messiah would be “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).
John announced, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! … I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).
John the Baptist had the privilege to be the first to proclaim the coming of the Messiah (Matt. 3:1). Because of that, Jesus Himself named him as a prophet than whom no greater had risen in Israel. “For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).
John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as “the Lamb of God” to John the evangelist (John 1:35, 36). The phase lamb of God is used alone by John as a designation for Christ, though Luke (Acts 8:32) and Peter (1 Peter 1:19) have similar comparisons (Isa. 53:7).
By the symbol of a lamb John recognized the suffering Messiah as the one in whom the sacrificial system of OT pointed. This figure stresses Jesus’ innocence and perfection of character, and thus the vicarious nature of His sacrifice (Isa. 53:4–6, 11, 12; Ex. 12:5). It represents the paschal lamb of Egypt, which typified deliverance from the slavery of sin. “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7).
The general Jewish mind-set at Baptist’s time didn’t comprehend the nature of Christ’s mission and His suffering (John 12:34; Luke 24:21). The Jews were looking forward to the Messiah to deliver them from their enemies. They were looking for a worldly kingdom not a spiritual one (Mark 9:31-32).
In His service,
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