Posts Tagged ‘Lamb of God’

Artwork, such as this statue from St. Michael’s Church, Hamburg, Germany, portrays St. Michael casting out Lucifer, aka Satan, Father of lies, Devil etc., as recorded in Revelation 12: 7-12. Artists have added the Cross to the Scripture passage, though not recorded in Holy Writ in the Revelation passage. Yet, it is true: by Christ’s death and resurrection, the devil is put to flight in the Lord’s mercy toward us sinners.

Prayer of the Day

Everlasting God, You have ordained and constituted the service of angels and men in a wonderful order. Mercifully grant that, as Your holy angels always serve and worship You in heaven, so by Your appointment they may also help and defend us here on earth; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

About St. Michael and All Angels:    The name of the archangel St. Michael means “Who is like God?” Michael is mentioned in the Book of Daniel (12:1), as well as in Jude (v. 9) and Revelation (12:7). Daniel portrays Michael as the angelic helper of Israel who leads the battle against the forces of evil. In Revelation, Michael and his angels fight against and defeat Satan and the evil angels, driving them from heaven. Their victory is made possible by Christ’s own victory over Satan in His death and resurrection, a victory announced by the voice in heaven: “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come” (Revelation 12:10). Michael is often associated with Gabriel and Raphael, the other chief angels or archangels who surround the throne of God. Tradition names Michael as the patron and protector of the Church, especially as the protector of Christians t the hour of death. (The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

LessonsDaniel 10: 10-14  Psalm 91   Revelation 12: 7-12  St. Matthew 18: 1-11 or St. Luke 10: 17-20

Reflection on Revelation 19:   The angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.


Hebrews 1: 14: Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

God’s Word is clear.  When angels bring God’s Word to mortals, there is knee-knocking fear.  This is why Gabriel first had to say to Mary, Fear not.  Yet, the Scripture is equally clear:  angels are humble.  As it is written in Revelation 19, when John wants to worship the angel, the angel is clear, “You must not do that!”  Angels and saints in heaven are not to be worshiped, that is, prayed to and invoked, as too many churches do to this day.  I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.  Angels which are luminous servants and messengers of the Most High, are our fellow servants!  Angels hold to the testimony of Jesus.  Further, we read in Hebrews angels serve us mortals.  Mortals, who by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, received through faith in the work of the Holy Spirit, are inheritors of salvation.  I think when popular articles about UFOs and ETs, begin with, “we are not alone”, it is strange and sad science fiction comfort that is sought:  we are not alone in the vast universe.

But the Lord has told us this for  centuries, the millenia:  we are not alone. His angels keep us safe and watch over us, serving us frail mortals.  The angels know they did not die for sinners.  The angels saw what happened when one of their own wanted to be worshiped as God, that is, Lucifer (literally, light bearer).  The angels know that God’s own Son did not die and rise for them, but for the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve, who fancy themselves as ‘stars’, wanting to be “like God”, following the angel hosts’ fallen brother’s lie (see Genesis 3). Again, the name  Michael means,  “Who is like God?”  Answer: not Michael, but the Son of Joseph, the Son of God. The angels know they can not bring another Gospel (see Galatians 1:8), but they give witness to the Gospel of the Son’s Crucifixion and Resurrection, the “eternal Gospel”,  for us all to see and come to faith, see Revelation 14:6.

We are not alone. This is comfort to the Lord’s redeemed people that God is One, yet the Lord is not alone.  “Glorious is God with His angels and saints, O Come, let us worship Him” (invitatory for daily prayer).  The Lord, the blessed and holy Trinity, wants His kingdom filled with the redeemed.  I was reminded this morning of a Biblical insight in an eloquent article by Chad Bird, How a Small Rural Congregation Became a Megachurch Overnight”.  It is clear in Revelation that the angels with mortals worship the Lamb upon His throne. The Biblical insight is that when we tally how many were at worship on a given Sunday, we can not count, “angels and archangels and all the company heaven, lauding and magnifying Thy Holy Name, ever more praising Thee and saying, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD OF SABOATH , HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE FULL OF THY GLORY. HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST.” (part of the prefaces in the Divine Service). We are not alone, we are baptized into a holy communion.

A blessed Feast Day to all!

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But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3: 13, NIV)

Some of you may have seen the 2000 movie, “Pay It Forward” about a young boy, with a troubled family who is given an unusual assignment by his social studies teacher.  Instead of  “paying someone back” for a good deed or favor done, “paying it forward”:  matching good deeds with good deeds to new people and in the movie the young boy begins a revolution in the lives of his family and those around him. I have not seen the movie.  Doing good deeds out of faith is a good thing but notice the premise of the movie is not doing good deeds out of faith in Jesus Christ, but PAYING it forward. 

How much does one pay?  If one is paying then one is buying something.  What is the person buying? In  a word:  salvation. How much does one pay for salvation?  We can’t pay it forward.  How much does one pay? We have the answer in today’s Gospel, how much.  ““Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1: 29)  How much did salvation cost?   “…you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”  (1 Peter). Our silver and gold can not buy salvation, neither can our deeds. but the deed of His blood has bought us. He has paid the price of our sin, backwards and forwards with His priceless blood, the blood of the Lamb of God, because you and I can not pay it forward or backward.

            The Lord’s solution to the sin of the world is a lamb. His solution is our Savior.  It’s foolishness to the world. Salvation is not in government sponsored programs, or church sponsored programs for that matter, nor good intentions, nor again, paying it back or  “paying it forward”, not in men’s wisdom, or the great signs and works  of human religions, but a lamb.  Not just any lamb, it is this Lamb, the perfect Passover Lamb, not 50% man and 50% God, but 100%/100%: Behold!. The Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world.  When the Lord in His Law finds us out, we can not bear the sin and it is the sin of the world, heavier than the mere world Atlas bore.  In so many movies about army basic training, we hear the drill sergeant screaming, Can you take it!  I can take it, drill sergeant, yells the recruit.  They can…but sin and sorrow? No.  Even a tough Roman centurion could not take the illness of his beloved servant and he knew that in Jesus Christ pure holiness dwelt (and still does), and he sought the Christ (Matthew 8:  5-10). the Lamb of God is with us, the One has takes  away the sin of world. When in His Law He finds us out, then in His Christ, His beloved Son, He finds us.

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Text:  John 1:29-42, especially the italicized verses

29 The next day (John the Baptizer)  saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizeswith the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be calledCephas” (which means Peter).

John’s vocation pointed by preaching and teaching the Word of God to the Christ. A pastor told me that on one Sunday morning, Good Shepherd Sunday, they had in the sanctuary as an illustration an actual lamb. This pastor was noted for creativity in the liturgy.  The pastor commented about having lamb in the sanctuary, ‘Boy, did he ever stink!  Never again.’  I am sure glad the Lord did not and does not so think about His people:  don’t want them in here, never again, they stink.  Oh, we do and that’s the reason we come together, to be cleansed in His Word, repented and forgiven in Him. 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake
.  The Lamb of God is also the Good Shepherd. Lamb and Shepherd are two aspects of the one Office of Christ.  He bore our sin as the Lamb of God and so leads His people as the Good Shepherd of His flock..  The slaughtered lamb is the wounded Shepherd.
and with his wounds we are healed 

The Lamb of God did not stink but He was baptized so He would stink with the foulness of a zombie flesh eating, vampire blood-sucking, breaking bad world.  He had no need for washing the stain of sin from His body and soul. John witnessed that Jesus was baptized, fully immersed into the sin of world taking it away with every step He walked, that we walk in Him.  Fully immerse so that, with every Word He spoke, we speak His Word, with every prayer He uttered that we pray, with every morsel He ate that we be fed, with every tear He cried that we are washed, with every drop of blood He shed so that we are made whole.  Feed my sheep, the risen Lord commanded Peter three times.  “That stinks to high heaven” and so the Lord of heaven came down to wash His sheep three times in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He feeds us His Body and Blood, the Word of God, the Word of grace and peace through His forgiveness.  John’s vocation pointed by preaching and teaching the Word of God to the Christ.  The Lord called John the Baptizer to baptize and point to the Lamb of God. Jesus is the baptized Lamb of God.  He still is.  

“For the Holy Scripture declares that the sin of the world does not lie on the world, or St. John’s sin on St. John, or St. Peter’s on Peter, for they are unable to bear it.  The sin of the world lies on Christ, the Lamb of God.  He steps forth and becomes a vile sinner, yea, sin itself (2 Cor. 5: 21), just as if He Himself had committed all the sin of the world from its beginning to its end.  This is to be the Lamb’s office, mission and function.”

The Lord, the Holy Spirit inspired men to write the Scriptures to point to the Lamb of God. Later on in John’s holy Gospel, Jesus teaches,  …The Scriptures are the Word of God in the words of God He inspired human authors to write. We can count on His Word to point us to our Savior and away from the quicksand of our thoughts about Christ causing us to fall. Luther:  “This is a key element especially to the devil, as he seeks wasy to tear us away from the Word (of God), and then , apart from the Word leads us away from the Word, and then, apart from the Word, leads us to think our own thoughts (about Christ,apart from the Bible, see for instance Mohammed and Joseph Smith or liberal theologians).  for then (the devil)  knows has won and we have lost” (Luther). The star led the Magi to Jerusalem as these pagans logically thought the King of the Jews must be born in the capital, in the Temple of Israel, but it was finally the Word of God in the words of God in Micah, which states that the king is born in the least of the cities of Judah, Bethlehem.  “The Word is a trustworthy star, and it guides them straight to Christ.  Without and apart from the Word, they would not have found Christ the King.” (Luther)

 Paul wrote that Adam was the type of the one to come. There are many types, examples, in fact the Old Testament can be regarded as filled with the promises and the types of Christ to come,so that the Lord’s Church be challenged, encouraged and strengthened.  So Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians that the journey of his freed people Israel through the wilderness is an example or types of Christ.  When the people of Israel cried out for water, the Lord told Moses to hit the rock with his staff and water came forth.  For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. The Bible is about Jesus Christ, from when the Lord clothed the fallen Adam and Eve because they were ashamed with the nakedness of their sin till when He baptized us and so clothes us in Jesus Christ, our christening robe. 

The Lord baptizes His Church, His Body to point to the Lamb of God, following Him,  abiding in His Word and so He feeds us His Word.  The two sections of today’s Gospel both commence with John’s sermon: Behold!  The Lamb of God. In the first section is his witness to Jesus’ Baptism.  In the second section is John’s witness to the Lamb of God to John’s disciples.  Andrew and the other disciple wanted to know where Jesus was staying, or abiding.  They followed Him. They wanted to know where the Lord was staying, abiding.  They wanted to spend time with Him, the Word of God made flesh and so Andrew invited his brother Simon, or as Jesus named him, Cephas or rock.  They wanted their words and life to point to the Lamb of God.  This was a new orientation in their lives.  What do our lives point?  The compass point of the world always points inward.   The compass of His Word which makes the Church points out to Jesus Christ.  We live in the disorientation of a world concentrating on the idolatry of the self.  The Lord baptizes and calls His church to point to the Lamb of God.  We need His orientation day by day.  The picture above is the altarpiece painted by Mattheas Grunewald for the hospital chapel of Saint Anthony’s Monastery in Isenheim, Alsace (then part of Germany), where monks ministered to victims afflicted with the disfiguring skin disease known as Saint Anthony’s Fire, which was common in the middle ages. Monks, hospital staff, and patients at St. Anthony’s would have related in a very personal way to the ravaged body of Christ as it appears in the central Crucifixion scene of the closed altarpiece.  It shows John the Baptizer with a big long finger pointing to the Crucified. He doesn’t point at us to say how bad you are.  He does not point to himself to say how good he is, and the words  in Latin behind John are his own sermon, He must increase and I must decrease.  The altarpiece has hinges and then can open up and be changed to the Nativity and the resurrection.  Those so afflicted were being reoriented. We do too as we are found and do not get lost. Others are to be sought in this lost world for which He died and you are part of that world. The Lord has so that we may abide in His Word and point, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  In the Orthodox Church the bread of Holy Communion is called the Lamb.  From the Lamb we receive His Body and His blood, fed the word of life.

 John’s vocation pointed by preaching and teaching the Word of God to the Christ.

The Lord, the Holy Spirit inspired men to write the Scriptures to point to the Lamb of God.

The Lord baptizes His Church, His Body to point to the Lamb of God, following Him,  abiding in His Word and so He feeds us His Word. IN the Name of the Father, and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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The figure of the right is John the Baptizer, pointing as if silently preaching, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1: 29; 36)

“All truly Christian preaching must have the essential content of the proclamation and witness of John (the Baptizer). A true Christian preacher will first prepare the way for the coming of the Lord through the preaching of repentance. He that is no sinner and does not want to acknowledge himself a sinner, has no need of a Savior. But then follows the preaching of Christ, of Jesus of Nazareth, of the Redeemer of the world. Only by and through such preaching is the eternal Light revealed to men.”  Pr. Paul Kretzmann’s Commentary (published 1921) on John 1: 29

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