Advent 4: Rorate Coeli (Jn 1:19–29)
INI + AMEN.
((5. Oops!: The sin of the world that takes away the Lamb of God.))
Last night, how many men decided it was a good idea to hold up a convenience store or put a gun a someone’s back for a few measly bucks? How many families and marriages were shattered? How many women wondered who their husband was with or had to flee their abusers? How many drug deals went down? How many overdoses or DUIs?How many will take refuge in a bottle or some deep dark slums of the internet? How many murders? How many terrorists’ plots were hatched, attempted, or accomplished?
How many will come give God their one day, one hour and move on to their other 364 days in the year, their 30 days in the month, their 6 days in the week without even a second thought?
((4. Ugh!: Our sin that takes away the Lamb of God.))
Besides all that, how many of us really care? Oh, we may care for a little while. We care for a few days or weeks after some big international, national, or local headline, but how quickly we move on. After all, we’ve got our own problems to worry about. We worry about our dwindling bank accounts. We gossip about the smallest slight against us. We’re touchy, angry, grouchy, grinchy. We have 1st class pity parties for ourselves, but only 2nd or 3rd rate effort for others. We want jobs without stress, families without problems, holidays without mishaps, age without arthritis.
((3. JESUS IS THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES ALL SIN: THE WORLD’S AND YOURS.))
Behold, the sin of the world that takes away the Lamb of God. See the world’s sin on His back along with the stripes those sins merited. See your sins: the wrong you’ve done and the right you failed to do that pierce His hands and feet, the evil thoughts that adorn His head with thorns, the words of gossip and lies that He drinks with sour wine, the lusts and coldheartedness that pierce His very heart. Behold, the sin of the world—your sin—that takes away the Lamb of God.
The problem isn’t that we’re focused on us and not on our neighbor, but it’s that we’re focused on ourselves and not on Christ because when we eat and drink the flesh and blood of the Lamb of God He strengthens us “in faith toward Him and in fervent love toward one another” But we shouldn’t behold Him as one someone who wants our pity. He doesn’t want your pity, your sorrow, your confession. He simply wants you.
JESUS IS THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY ALL SIN: THE WORLD’S AND YOURS.
((2. Whee!: That’s why He came.))
It’s why He came for you, just you: TO TAKE AWAY ALL SIN: THE WORLD’S AND YOURS. When Adam and Eve sinned, there was the Lamb standing in between the wrath of God and His newly created. There was a lamb that the Lord Himself used to clothe them. When Cain got Abel, Noah got drunk, Moses got mad, and David got Bathsheba there was the Lamb. It’s why He was born that first Christmas in the manger at Bethlehem. This is the source of our Christmas joy! It’s what fills us with “merry, merrys.” It’s what the season’s all about. Mary had her little lamb in a stable. It’s fleece as white as snow ready to be reddened for the sin of the world, to take away its sin, yours, too.
That’s what John points out to us. His voice still calls out, His finger still points: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” No pointing to himself. He’s the “voice crying in the wilderness.” He “prepared the way of the” Lamb, “whose sandals I’m not worthy to untie,” he says.
The Lamb is the Lord Himself. No other Lamb would do, not for the world and not for you either. He really is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” even those who deny Him. But He is such a Lamb, your Lamb, that even if you were the only one in the world, He would still have endured it all. That’s the love your Lamb, your Lord has for you, for each, and for all. JESUS IS THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY ALL SIN: THE WORLD’S AND YOURS.
((1. Yeah!: You really are free from your sin.))
If He’s taken your sins, they’re not yours anymore. It doesn’t matter what your sin is or what the sins of the world are. JESUS IS THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY ALL SIN. They really don’t belong to you anymore. They belong to Jesus. All the icky, violent, nasty things people do to one another and all the things each of us has done to add to the trash heap of sin. His. Not yours. “He who knew no sin becomes your sin,” every sin, the sins of the world,” and “with His holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death,” the Lamb has redeemed you from sin, devil, and death, baptizing you into His flesh and blood, that He may bring you cleansed and alive before His Father. In Jesus, you are the very righteousness of God.
You don’t need to be defined by your sins anymore. You don’t have to take them back from Jesus and feel guilty for them any longer. You don’t have to bear them any longer. Have you ever been sitting around and you remember something you did last week, last year, something you did when you were 12 years old, or in high school or college? The devil’s tempting you to take your sin back from Jesus, to be defined by it, and be guilty for it.
Your sins have transferred ownership. They belong to Jesus. All the good He has is yours for all that bad you had was His. You come to this Altar to “Behold the lamb of God” who has “mercy upon you.” You come to eat the body of JESUS, THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY ALL SIN, and “on sin-parched lips the chalice pours His quenching blood that life restores.” The Lamb grants you His peace.
INI + AMEN.