Read John 1:19-34. TEXT: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29).
The teacher walks into the classroom and finds a broken vase. She's not sure who broke it, but she has a pretty good idea. She singles out the one child who always gets into trouble- the scapegoat-and though it's completely unfair, off he goes to face the principal in place of the child who is truly guilty.
The word "scapegoat" comes to us from the Old Testament Day of Atonement, the day God forgave the nation's sins. God commanded His people to bring a goat to His altar. The priest laid his hand on its head confessing the sins of the people of Israel. The scapegoat took the punishment for their sins as it was led out into the wilderness.
Here in the middle of John's first chapter, the Baptist points at Jesus and calls out, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John looks past Jesus' Baptism to Good Friday when He will suffer the full wrath and punishment for our sins. When we receive the assurance of God's forgiveness in Jesus' body and blood in Holy Communion, we repeat John's words, "Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; grant us peace."
As we follow Jesus through this season of Lent, we will see how brightly God's Light shines in our dark world.
THE PRAYER: Lord God, turn my eyes to my Savior this Lenten season that I may say with John the Baptist, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world"-and my sins. In Jesus' Name. Amen.