Summary: The prophet John the Baptist was mobbed by excited crowds. But he turned the people's gaze to the one, all-important focus: "Behold, the Lamb of God!" Take stock and ask yourself, "Where is my focus?" Is it on Christ, our Passover Lamb, who has been sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7, NLT)?
John the Baptist's Jewish audience would have been thoroughly familiar with the sacrificial lamb of their deeply-honored Passover feast. So for the prophet to identify Jesus to them as "the lamb of God" who would take away the sin of the world would have caused great wonderment.
John's exhortation to them (and us) is to “see” Jesus, the Lamb of God, to “behold” Him, to “look at” Him. Many who “see” Him (29) will choose to follow Him (37).
The famous “doubting Thomas,” when he saw the resurrected Son of God, believed. Just a short time later, Jesus ascended back to heaven, where He will remain until His promised Second Coming. From that time until our present day, we on earth don’t have the privilege of seeing Jesus physically.
But we do have the blessing that Jesus promised — that is, although we don’t see Him physically as His apostles did, we still believe in Him. We see Him by the eye of faith. We believe the Scriptures’ abundant testimony about Him. We love, accept, and receive Him, and Jesus said that we are “blessed.” So although believers alive on earth do not see Jesus face to face, nevertheless throughout this Church Age the Scriptures strongly encourage us to “see” Him, to “behold” Him, to “look at” Him in a number of different ways. Our faith in Him will be strengthened, and we will receive the blessing that Jesus promised. Let’s look at some Scriptural approaches to beholding … seeing … looking at the Son of God.
Consider Jesus. As you read the Bible, remember that it frequently testifies about Jesus (John 5:39), even in the Old Testament. As you read a passage that grabs your attention, pause and ponder what it says about the Lord. “Consider” this marvelous, matchless Savior whom we serve — “meditate on him” (Amplified), “think of Him” (AMPC), “keep your mind on Jesus” (CEV), “think about Jesus” (GW).
This speaks of a conscious effort to focus our thoughts and attention on our Savior, the Son of God. A casual, laid-back approach to Jesus will not be likely to help you establish the desired close walk with Him.
Various translations emphasize the purposeful, determined effort of the believer to deliberately put his or her attention on the Lord Jesus. We are to “look unto Jesus” (ASV), “keep our eyes on” Him (CEV), “look steadfastly on Jesus” (Darby), “never stop looking to” Him (ERV), “focus on Jesus” (GW), “fix our attention” on Him (ISV), “think constantly of him” (Phillips), “keep looking to Jesus” (NLV).
The various translations have captured the central thought of a determined, purposeful focus of our thoughts upon our Lord Jesus Christ. Think about that for a moment. Would your soul be more edified by thinking of Jesus, or by thinking about today’s football game? Now bear with me here, please. I do realize that there is room for wholesome recreation and entertainment in a Christian’s life. But if our central daily focus is not Jesus Christ, then we are out of balance.
In this Church Age in which we live, Jesus is in heaven, seated victoriously at the right hand of God the Father. In light of that perspective, the apostle Paul rightly urges us to a twofold decision: (1) set our hearts and (2) set our minds on heavenly things.
Notice that the choice is ours, a choice to “set” our hearts and minds on things above, where Jesus is reigning in victory at God’s right hand. The opposite, wrong, harmful habit pattern is to keep our hearts and minds focused “on things here on earth” (vs. 2).
There is a terrible, thoroughly antibiblical saying that some people quote without thinking it through. They’ll say of someone, “He’s so heavenly minded he’s no earthly good.” That often draws a chuckle, but it is so horribly wrong! The great apostle urges us to set our hearts and minds on heavenly things, and not on earthly things. He is exhorting us to look upward, to see by faith God on His throne in heaven, with Jesus the Son, Savior, and Lord of all (Acts 10:36) seated at the place of honor at the Father’s right hand. An ongoing contemplation of that heavenly vision is what will make us effective, fruit-bearing sons and daughters of God on this earth.
In our opening Scripture we saw John the Baptist crying out, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” Today, 2,000 years later, that is still the single most important thing that anyone on earth can do. We need to “see” Jesus, to “behold” Him, to “look at” Him through the eyes of faith, to “consider” Him, to “fix our eyes” upon Him, and to continually set our hearts and minds on the things above, where Jesus is seated at God’s right hand as our Lord, our Savior, and our coming King.
If these verses about Jesus have spoken to your heart, may I invite you to take a few minutes to hear Alan Jackson’s stirring rendition of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”
If you’ve never made Jesus your personal Lord and Savior and He is speaking to your heart to do so today, please allow evangelist Billy Graham to lead you in a wonderful prayer of salvation. You will be changed for life and eternity!
©2017, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.