Posted by: rcottrill | January 24, 2011

Look to the Lamb of God

Words: Henry Godden Jackson (b. Jan. 1, 1838; d. Nov. 12, 1914)
Music: James Milton Black (b. Aug. 19, 1856; d. Dec. 21, 1938)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Some form of the word “look” is found 355 times in our English Bibles (KJV). Often it means more than simply the act of seeing. It involves attention plus attitude, giving attention to, and perceiving (whether accurately or not) a certain personal significance in something.

Looking Bad! When Lot’s wife disobeyed and looked back to doomed Sodom, it was likely a look of regret over earthly pleasures that were being lost (Gen. 19:17, 26). Negatively, there is also a lustful look (Matt. 5:28)–but see Joseph’s victory when this temptation came to him (Gen. 39:7-9). When Goliath looked at young David, it was with an unbeliever’s disdain for his seeming weakness (I Sam. 17:42; cf. v. 45-46). The spiritually blind Jewish leaders looked at the Scriptures as a book of rules to follow, but Jesus said the eyes of faith would find Him there (Jn. 5:39).

Looking Good! In their time in the wilderness, on one occasion (of many!) when they complained against the Lord, and Moses’ leadership, God punished the Israelites with an infestation of deadly vipers. But He also provided a means of deliverance, requiring faith and obedience. Moses erected a bronze serpent, at the Lord’s command. Then the people were told if they would simply look at it, they would be healed of the snake’s venomous bite (Num. 21:8). There was nothing magical in the image. The “look” of sufferers simply indicated their renewed submission to God, and trust in Him.

There are examples in Scripture of God looking, too. For example, earlier in the book of Exodus, we find the Israelites in bondage in Egypt. And Pharaoh was told that if he did not release the people, death would visit the firstborn in every home. To protect themselves, the Hebrews were instructed by the Lord to slay a lamb, and apply its blood around the doorway of their dwelling. God promised, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you” (Exod. 12:13, italics mine). The symbolism of the slain Passover lamb (the innocent substitute dying in place of the guilty) finds its great fulfilment in the cross of “Christ our Passover” (I Cor. 5:7).

When God the Son came in the flesh, John the Baptist invited the people of his day to look to Him, “the Lamb of God” (Jn. 1:29). And the Lord Jesus drew a parallel between that Old Testament incident concerning the brazen serpent and His coming death on the cross. The look to Christ represents “whoever believes” (Jn. 3:14-15). Looking to the Lord in faith is the prescribed means of our salvation (Isa. 45:22).  Even after conversion, we Christians should be “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). “Consider [give thought to] Him,” says the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 12:3).

Henry Jackson’s simple gospel song builds on the invitation of John the Baptist to look to the Lamb of God. In each stanza he gives us a reason for looking, and a particular blessing that comes from looking.

¤ Look to Christ for forgiveness of sin (CH-1).
¤ Look to Him for the power to resist temptation (CH-2).
¤ Look to Him to gain strength and cheer for life’s journey (CH-3).
¤ Look to Him for needed assurance in times of trial (CH-4).

If you from sin are longing to be free,
Look to the Lamb of God.
He to redeem you died on Calvary,
Look to the Lamb of God.

Look to the Lamb of God.
Look to the Lamb of God.
For He alone is able to save you,
Look to the Lamb of God.

Questions:
1) What are sinners called to do, on this side of the cross, that is a spiritual parallel to what the Jews did on that first Passover (Rom. 1:16)?

2) Peter speaks of “the precious blood of Christ” (I Pet. 1:18-19). Why is His blood so precious to believers (Eph. 1:7)?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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