29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Verses 29-34 set forth the official announcement of the coming of the Messiah, God who became flesh.
29 The next day
Note the phrase “next day” in verses 35 and 43, and “the third day” (Jn 2:1). These days may have spanned one week. The “next day” here is the day following the Baptizer’s confrontation with the delegation from Jerusalem. Evidently the delegation from Jerusalem had gone back.
A striking event occurred the day after those with negative volition left the presence of the Baptizer—the launch of the Messiah’s public ministry by His baptism.
he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him,
John saw Jesus coming to him. Jesus might have been coming from His experience at the temptation.
John made a proclamation of a new revelation at the arrival of Jesus in his presence.
The word “behold” calls attention to something important. “Behold” is a dramatic statement concerning what is about to happen, like an announcement preceding the climactic unveiling of a statue. It was a startling statement to Jews to hear Jesus declared to be the “Lamb of God.”
the Lamb of God,
A lamb in Israel’s economy was a sacrificial animal, killed as a substitute for sins. Jesus was the sum of all the Levitical offerings.
Note that John the Baptist was not talking about just any lamb; he was referring to “the” Lamb of God. “Of God” means provided by God. There is no other lamb like Him. Lambs of the Old Testament only provisionally took away sin; Jesus as “the Lamb of God” permanently took the penalty for sin. Other lambs only looked forward to the One who would take away sin.
The name “Lamb of God” is the first of a number of titles given to Jesus in this chapter: Rabbi, Messiah, Son of God, King of Israel, Son of Man, and Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. “Lamb” foreshadowed Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross for our sins as a sacrificial lamb.
Jesus finally, fully paid for the sins of the world.
Lambs in the Old Testament were sacrificed for sins. It was a means of atonement. Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Co 5:7). The Passover in the Old Testament was a yearly feast event where a goat was offered as a sacrifice. Daily sacrifices were lambs, but they did not atone for sins. They only prepared for the One who could take away their sins.
Jesus is a unique Lamb because of His person. Lambs in the Old Testament were types; Jesus’ sacrifice was against a type—His was a real sacrifice (antitype). His sacrifice satisfied all the requirements that God demands (Is 53:7, 12; 1 Co 5:7; 1 Pe 1:19; Re 5:6).