John the Baptist calls Jesus the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. It has me thinking about where else in Scripture the lamb imagery is used, especially in the Old Testament.
Leviticus may not be rightly included in my list since the reference appears in the NIV appears to be to a goat rather than a lamb. I’m not sure how important that distinction is, as Exodus 12 treats them more or less as the same. But, of course, the oft-quoted Matthew 25 passage makes the difference between sheep and goats of eternal importance.
So we have the sins of the people being placed on the goat, which is taken out into the wilderness and abandoned.
We have the lamb slaughtered at twilight. Its blood is used to mark the homes of the people of God so the angel of death will pass them by.
We have the one pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities who goes forward silently to the slaughter.
Those Jews who heard John the Baptist, they would have had these images and stories echoing in their heads. In this season after epiphany the question we ask is: Who is Jesus? John the Baptist tells he is the lamb.