The Lamb of God
Open Your Bible
John 1:29-51, Deuteronomy 18:15-18, Isaiah 53:7-12
When my husband and I welcomed our first child, naming her felt like the most sacred duty we had. We wrapped our baby girl in a soft hospital blanket and the names of our paternal grandmothers. And now, at almost age seven, she carries their names, their stories, and a healthy dose of their shared stubbornness. A few years later, when our second daughter was born, we gave her names from our maternal lines, matriarchs whose gifts we hope she will bear into the next generation.
Our girls’ names act as bridges from the past to the future; they remind us we come from somewhere and someone, and that the story of our families will continue long past us. Their names fill us with emotion: with love for those long-gone, and hope for those yet to come.
In John 1:29–51, Jesus is given seven names or titles by the various people He encounters. Throughout our study in John, we’ll look at several descriptive names Jesus uses for Himself. For today’s reading, we’ll focus on these twenty-three verses in John 1, in which Jesus is given seven names which all give us specific information about Jesus’s origin and mission. Each name represents the past, present, and future of God’s plan for redeeming the world. Let’s look briefly at each name in this passage:
The Lamb of God (John 1:29)
John the Baptist, Jesus’s relative and a prophet who prepared the Jewish people for the coming Messiah, called Jesus the “Lamb of God,” a reference to the Passover event in Exodus 12, Isaiah 53:7, and several other passages in the Old Testament Law. In the Mosaic law, lambs were a sacrificial option for sin offerings to God. Jesus was the ultimate sacrificed lamb who died once and for all for the sins of His people.
Son of God (v.34)
John the Baptist also calls Jesus the “Son of God” in this passage. Jesus is called the Son of God throughout the Gospel of John, which emphasizes His deity. Jesus was fully God and fully man.
Rabbi, or Teacher (v.38)
Two of John the Baptist’s followers, or disciples, called Jesus “Rabbi” when they saw Him. Rabbi is the Hebrew word for teacher. This title was given to official teachers of the Jewish law as a way to show respect.
Messiah, the Christ (v.41)
In verse 41, Andrew (John’s disciple who became Jesus’s disciple) told his brother Simon Peter that Jesus was the Messiah. Messiah (the English translation of a Hebrew word) and Christ (the English translation of the Greek word for Messiah) both mean “the anointed one.” This title referred to the promised savior of God’s people.
The One Moses Wrote About (v.45)
Philip, after believing in Jesus upon meeting Him, calls Jesus the “one Moses wrote about.” By doing this, Philip recalls the Old Testament prophecies made incarnate in the person of Jesus.
King of Israel (v.49)
In verse 49, Philip also introduces Nathanael to Jesus, and Nathanael believes and follows Jesus. Nathanael then calls him “Son of God…the King of Israel.” This name points back to Old Testament promises of an eternal king.
Son of Man (v.51)
Jesus calls Himself “Son of Man” a dozen times in the Gospel of John.
In these verses, seven names give us a rich tapestry of Jesus: His purpose, His nature, and His power. Jesus, the Lamb of God. The Son of God, the Teacher, the Messiah, the King, the Son of Man, the fulfillment of Old Testament promises. These names teach us about Jesus: they remind us who He is and why He came, and what hope we have for the future because of Him.