Behold the Lamb
Author: Stephanie Bennett
Behold the Lamb
By Stephanie Bennett
"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." John 1:29
Most of the time this scripture is read, focus is placed on the second part of the verse. Because it is such a wonderful provision, understandably, we are prone to continually re-examine the fact that Jesus came into the world to cleanse us from sin. Indeed, it is the core of the glorious Truth of the Gospel, but I would like to take a few moments to examine the first section of the verse, emphasizing the phrase, 'Behold, the Lamb.'
What does it mean to 'behold?' The dictionary defines the process of beholding as, 'to gaze at, or look upon.' It is also used to express amazement. Middle English usage includes the idea of possessing, or holding. In contemporary culture the idea has largely been reduced to merely 'looking upon' something. Certainly, it is that, but so much more! Just what is beholding, in the context of the Lamb of God, and why is it of any particular significance?
In 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Apostle Paul wrote, "But we all are beholding the glory of the Lord, and being transformed into His same image, from glory, to glory." As we behold the Lord, or gaze upon Him intently, our lives are inexplicably changed. The transformation that takes place can not be measured by a yardstick, as in height, or with a scale, as in weight. However, in much the same way that Moses' countenance was changed as a result of His being in God's Presence, so too, are we transformed as we behold Him. The changes that take place in our lives are those that occur in the inward parts, or the soul. The fact that they are largely intangible makes them no less significant. Sometimes quiet, other times radical, -- changes in our attitude, our level of composure, contentedness, perceptions, and mindset are all a part of our very active, but invisible, inward parts.
But how does fixing our gaze on the Lord have the power to transform these things? Just as the rays of the sun have the power to warm our bodies when it's cold, and the color of our skin is changes from extended exposure to the summer sun, so our hearts are changed from extended exposure to God. The radiance that issues from God's Presence has the power to effect change in us, for in gazing upon Perfect Love, we simply cannot remain the same. John gazed upon the Lord on the Isle of Patmos, and he was dazzled. This is how the beloved disciple described what he saw:
" . . . and in the midst of the golden lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force." Revelation 1: 13-16 Dwell for a moment on that last statement. The face of the Lord was like the sun shining in full force.
Paul, too, spoke extensively about turning our attention away from the distractions of the world, and fixing our gaze on Jesus. In Hebrews 12: 2 he exhorts the believers, saying: ". . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. . ."( NAS) In so many ways it is terribly difficult to turn our attention away from the things of this world, but when we fix our gaze on the beauty that is the very essence of our Maker, our minds will co--operate and be more apt to let the distractions go. Our faces are affected as well, being transformed from the dour, downcast look of empty loneliness, to a bright, joyful countenance full of light and love! This is all part of what it means to reflect His glory!!!
The transformation of our soul does not take place by putting laws or ritual upon ourselves. No. We cannot effect lasting change ourselves simply by trying hard. Self-effort always comes up short. By fixing our gaze on Jesus, we avail ourselves of the light of God and place ourselves in the only environment that is truly transformational. This is all part of what it means to 'behold' Him. As we gaze upon Him, our inner self is radically affected because we are enveloped in the continuous environment of unconditional love. That is the only environment that can effect true change.
Basking in the Son will change more than the color of our skin. As we behold Him we will begin to see our hearts and inner attitudes transformed, reflecting the Light of the Son with each passing day. Our lives will be changed as we progress from faith to yet deeper faith, and from glory, to yet deeper glory.
Behold, the Lamb of God.