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Sermon January 15 2023

Epiphany 2 A 2023 Sermon Lamb of God

John 1:29-42


Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Have you ever done anything wrong?  Yes.  No.  I have.  Have you ever felt guilty?  Have you ever been caught doing something that you were not supposed to be doing?  What did you do?  How did you feel? 

What do children usually do when they have done something wrong?  They point out that it was not their fault or they point their fingers at someone else and state “It’s their fault.”  Or they point their fingers at you and claim “It’s your fault.” 

Well, we adults do the same thing, too.  When we are guilty, we often want to transplant our guilt on to someone else.  And we shout out for all to hear “It was not my fault, it’s his or her fault.”  

We insist: “It wasn’t my fault it was some else’s fault.”  “It’s your fault.”  Or my all-time favorite: “It was someone’s else’s fault who looks like me.” 

If you can recognize yourself as someone who does not like to feel guilty and would like to put your blame on someone else, then I have some good news for you.  There is someone who is willing to take upon Himself all our sins. 

Do you know who it is?  Yes.  That’s right.  It is the Lamb of God – Jesus Christ our Lord.  Jesus is the answer to our problem of feeling guilty for everything that we have done wrong, and for everything that we have failed to do. 

It is God’s Will that the Lamb of God takes upon Himself all our wrong doings.  And this has been the way it has been right from the beginning. 

In the Old Testament, at the appointed time, penitent people would bring a sacrificial lamb with them to the temple.  And they would lay their hands on the head of the animal and confess their sins to symbolically transfer their iniquities onto the lamb. 

Then, the animal was slaughtered, and its blood poured on the altar.  The animal was then burnt in a fire pit, and parts of the animal was eaten as a holy meal in God’s presence.  

Yes, forgiveness is possible, but it comes at a cost.  Someone or some animal needs to take our place and receive what we deserve for our sins.  And then, after our sins have been forgiven, God blessed a meal, so the folks left forgiven and fed. 

So, when John the Baptist declared “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” the people who heard him knew exactly what he was talking about. 

Jesus came to take your sin and my sin upon Himself and receive the punishment that we deserved for our sins.  This was/is God’s answer to our sinful behavior.  

The answer to our sinful behavior is that we lay our sins on Jesus.   As the old hymn states: “I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God; he bears them all, and frees us, from the accursed load. I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains, white in his blood most precious, till not a spot remains.” 

Jesus shed His blood for you and for me.  He shed His blood for the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body, and for the blessed gift of life everlasting. 

Therefore, you do not have to blame anybody else for your sin.  You do not need to deny your sins either.  You are free to lay your sins on Jesus, acknowledge them, and then transfer your sins and guilt to Jesus.  And Jesus will gladly take your sins and in exchange give you His forgiveness. 

So today, if you are feeling guilty or embarrassed because you have not done what you know you should have done, know that there is Good News for you today.  

Jesus Christ was given to die for you, and for His sake God forgives you all your sins.  To those who believe in Jess Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and bestows on them the Holy Spirit. 

And how should we respond?  We are told to go and share the Good News with the people that we meet as we go about our daily activities.  We are told to go and share the old, old, story of Jesus and His love. 

We are asked to invite others to come and see for themselves the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 

Yes, your sins have been forgiven.  My sins have been forgiven.  The Lamb of God has taken upon Himself all our sins and received the punishment for our sins.  This was part of God’s plan right from the beginning.  

You don’t have to blame others for your mistakes.  You know, of course that when you point a finger at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at you.  They are pointing back at you to remind you that regardless of who or what you may feel is responsible for your sin, ultimately the one responsible for your sinfulness is yourself.  

Thankfully, God has given us the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.  Let us therefore give God our thanks and our praise as we lay our sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God.  Amen. 

Let us pray: Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service.  Strengthen us by your Spirit and make us worthy of your call; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.