The Paschal Lamb of God
by Patrick Henry Reardon
It is a unique feature of St. John's Gospel that it explicitly introduces the sacrifice of Christ in the preaching of John the Baptist. When Jesus first appears, the Baptist proclaims, "See! The Lamb of God, he that takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).
John had earlier declared his expectation of someone "who comes after me [but] is preferred before me, for he was before me" (1:15). It was foretold, in fact, that on such a one John would see "the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and remaining upon him" (1:32). Then, when Jesus appears, John recognizes him by this sign: "I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God" (1:34).
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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