Jesus Appears as the Lamb of God who Takes Away the Sin of the World
These are the readings for the Second Sunday after Epiphany.
God’s Word for This Week
This Lamb would take away the sins of the world and bring both Israel and the Gentile nations into the kingdom of God. The hearts that see this Savior in faith cannot help but take news of this salvation to the ends of the earth.
Traditional First Lesson – Isaiah 49:1-6
Which person of the Trinity is speaking through the prophet Isaiah in these verses?
What job was given to this “servant” in verse 5?
To “bring Jacob back to (God) and gather Israel.” In other words, Jesus was sent specifically to win the Jews to faith (Matthew 15:24).
What additional job was mentioned in verse 6?
To be a light to the Gentiles. While Jesus was sent specifically to the Jews, he also realized that the Gentiles were meant to be brought to faith as well (John 10:16).
Listen to the message meant for all nations: The Messiah is a weapon in the hand of God. God concealed him like an arrow in a quiver: the Messiah would come with his glory hidden in flesh. That meant the Servant would suffer, but in that suffering God would display his splendor. Jesus struggled with the cup he was to drink, but trusted in God’s promised reward (v 4). God would use the Servant to restore Israel and shine the light of his love on all the Gentiles, too. The salvation won by the Lamb would be brought to the ends of the earth. When Simeon laid eyes on the Christ-child, he remembered these words and could depart in peace, because he knew that God had now kept his promise.
Supplemental First Lesson – Isaiah 49:1-7
What added dimension does this reading have when it is extended by one verse?
The addition of one verse features the LORD himself speaking and ratifying the Servant’s words. He promises that though his Servant will suffer and be despised, the LORD will not forget him, but will ensure his glory and honor. To that promise he adds a pledge on his name as the Redeemer and the Holy One of Israel. Though Christ would be the Lamb of God who would suffer and die to bear our sins, though he would be rejected and despised, God promised to glorify him again. He promised that every eye will see him—even those who pierced him—and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Traditional Second Lesson – 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Who wrote this letter to the Corinthians?
To whom is this letter written? (verse 2)
Not only the Christians at Corinth (who were mostly Gentile), but to “all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (including us!).
Why does the author thank God? (verses 4-9)
Because the Lord has blessed these Christians with “every spiritual gift.” Later in this letter Paul instructs these Corinthians in the proper use of their God-given gifts (chs. 12-14).
Supplemental Second Lesson – Acts 13:38-49
How was Jesus both the fulfillment and replacement of the sacrificial system given by God through Moses?
In Pisidian Antioch, Paul preached the message of the Lamb of God: the sacrifices in the Law of Moses could not justify; only the Lamb sacrificed for sin could. The Gospel resulted in faith in some Jewish hearts and rejection in others. In the face of opposition, Paul and Barnabas fulfilled the promises of God in Isaiah and made Christ a light to Gentiles and brought salvation to the ends of the earth.
Gospel – John 1:29-41
What did John mean when he called Jesus “The Lamb of God”?
As the last and greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist rightly summarizes the totality of God’s plan of salvation by pointing to Jesus and calling him the Lamb of God. Though not an Old Testament title, John’s name for Christ is the perfect sum of the sacrificial system. Christ is the fulfillment of all the sacrificial victims of the Old Testament, from Yom Kippur’s goat to the Passover Lamb and every sin and guilt offering in between. They are all fulfilled in the Son of God made flesh that he might stand in our place, that he might take the burden of sins off the world and onto his shoulders, and that he might die in our stead. Seeing the Lamb of God leads believers like John and Andrew to bring his salvation to the ends of the earth.
How did John know that Jesus was who he said he was?
He had seen the Holy Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
What was the first thing Andrew did after he realized that Jesus was the Messiah? (verse 41).
He went and told his brother Peter, a wonderful model of the joy Christians feel when their spiritual eyes are opened to the truth of God’s Word. That joy automatically leads to action: go and tell others!
Note: The Church remembers the first disciple of Jesus with the Feast of St. Andrew on November 30th. His distinction as first of the disciples is commemorated each new Church Year as Advent 1 is celebrated on the Sunday nearest the Feast of St. Andrew, the first disciple.