Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
If you’ve ever climbed a mountain, you know the struggle. Things start out positive enough. Then exhaustion or hunger or fear-of-sasquatch sets in, and every step becomes a reconsideration. But if you hold out, there awaits the sweet joy and relief of being so close to the top you can see it. Your legs might be mush, but the sight gives you new life. Every step becomes a declaration that you’re ready to summit.
John the Baptist stood before the most epic summit in the history of the world. Towering high over the whole Bible is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. From the garments of skin God made to cover Adam and Eve after they sinned (Genesis 3:21), to the Jewish sacrificial system that called for the slaughter of male lambs without blemish (Leviticus 1:3-4), everything before Christ looked forward to his coming to take away the sin of the world. From the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost by “Christ our Passover lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7), to the people gathered around the Lamb who have been ransomed from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9), everything after Christ looks back to all that he accomplished.
John the Baptist stood before this summit. He was sent for the very purpose to make preparation for the way up. Yet the people of Israel were stumbling over their own desires. Their eyes were searching for a revolution-style leader who would put them back on top. No wonder they missed Jesus altogether when John said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”–no one was looking for a lowly messiah. Who saw it coming that a man of sorrows who would suffer and die to bring salvation not only to the Jews, but to people all over the world? This is why John’s ministry was a call to repent. It was the only way to prepare the world for its Savior.
Likewise, the season of Lent is all about preparation and repentance. Lent is the forty days (not counting Sundays) stretching from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Historically, Christians have set aside this time to prepare their hearts to remember Jesus’ death and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Easter is not only the summit of human history, it’s the defining reality of the Christian life. This devotional is a guide for preparing our hearts for Easter. It’s a climb toward the breathtaking panorama of what Jesus has done for us.
The goal of this devotional guide is that the Lamb of God who took away your sin would remind you how much you need him, how much those around the world need him, and how much he calls you to participate in his global mission. It was written for Sojourn Community Church, but has been used by numerous other churches and individuals. The risen Savior of the world is in sight; let us prepare ourselves for him!