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Revelation in the desert

by davesandel on January 3rd, 2020

Revelation in the desert

Friday, January 3, 2020

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.”

– From John 1

What white dove is that flying above his head? In his fasting and visions John might have seen the dove, now he is certain of its significance. This cousin of his, Jesus, his occasional companion in the desert, is the Lamb of God. He is the Messiah. In Greek, they will say he is the Christ.

In John’s struck silence the crowd’s murmering grows almost to applause, almost to praise as Jesus walks through the people. John still does not speak. He climbs down from the rock. Jesus comes to him, touches his cheek, and smiles.

The spell is broken, and John cries out, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

And now forevermore we sing his praise, the “Agnus Dei,” Lamb of God. “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us thy peace.”

Perhaps you’ve sung that chant, perhaps not. I sang it every Sunday in Zion Lutheran Church. Sometime too we sang Martin Luther’s Easter song, “Christ Jesus Lays in Death’s Strong Hands:”

See, His blood now marks our door

Faith points to it, death passes o’er

And Satan cannot harm us, Alleluia!

Lamb’s blood painted above their doors protected the Hebrews from God’s wrath when Ramses reneged on his word to Moses. The pharaoh couldn’t spare those workmen. His pride stood high and stopped him listening to his kid brother Moses.

“Let my people go,” God cried!

Soon, in the dead of night, Ramses’ weeping rang out beside his wife’s. Their son was gone, struck down by God’s angel of death with every firstborn son in Egypt. All but those in houses with lamb’s blood above the door.

Behold the Lamb of God.

Jesus’ blood now too? Will it be shed to save the children, save us all, in all our houses, all our tents, in all our shelters and our caves?

From these stories rise the promises of God to all of us. We are free to be free from sin and death forever.

Christ Jesus, God’s own son came down

His people to deliver

Destroy sin, he took the crown

From death’s pale brow forever

*           *           *

You have made us to be free, Lord, and we are free indeed. What are we waiting for? We already have the gift. Turn my eyes away from myself, from what I think I need, so I can see all that you have given me. Freely I have received, and I can freely give.

 Martin Luther, “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands,” Lutheran Service Book #458. Listen on Youtube:

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