Advent 4: Rorate Coeli (Jn 1:19–29)

Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

INI + AMEN.

Now, that’s a sermon! What a message! Lord’s man speaking the Lord’s Word. John speaks of Him, only Him, and what it is He does. He takes away sin. He is the Lamb of God. Christ. Messiah. King. Savior.

John does his crying in the wilderness, his preaching, his confessing. He’s instrument of God, sent to prepare the Lord’s own way, telling of what the Lord Himself would do for His people, for all people.

John’s is the simplest sermon—one line! It’s a mic drop. John’s sermon, His pointing to Jesus, the Lamb of God, is Christmas in a nutshell, Advent in a nutshell. In fact, it’s the entire Christian message in a nutshell. One line. One simple word: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Every sin. Each sin. All sin. From the darkest of sins and evils, to the best things we put before God as meriting His favor. From the actions and lifestyles the world now prides to our own secret desires. Jesus is the One who says they’re all sin in His sight, but they are sins He came to be Lamb of God for.

That’s John’s sermon. What a message! The Last Prophetic message from God: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” So much good news in his sermon!

JESUS TAKES AWAY EACH AND EVERY SIN.

((I. Jesus takes away your sins.))

And that includes you. Yes, you. You’re included in Jesus’ great salvation. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter what you will do. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away sins, your sins, each and every sin. Full stop. You don’t have to clean up yourself first, or be morally pure afterward. You should, especially for your neighbor’s sake. God doesn’t need any of that. He has a Lamb, a Son for that.

Each and every one of your sins is included. Jesus took them all away. Shed His blood for all of them. Died for each of them. Rose for every one of them, too. Every sin is a sin covered by the blood of the Lamb—a sin Jesus died for. The sins you should put away but can’t. The sins you should put away but don’t. You don’t have to put them away to get access to the Lamb of God. John now points sinners to go there.

Put your sins away for your neighbor’s sake. Love them. Be for them. Put aside your temper, your drinking, your malice and coldheartedness, your gossiping, meanness, cutting corners, and coveting, too. Put aside your lusts and desires, and everything else that blocks the way to the Lamb of God—your sins, your false gods, your good works.

Truth is, they’re already gone. In Jesus the slate is clean between you and your heavenly Father. Jesus is the Lamb of God who took them all away. But in our daily lives, which should be free from sin and full of love for our neighbor, we’re very good at taking our sins back and doing them.

Jesus is still the Lamb for you. He is eternally that for you. The heavenly song is “Worthy is Christ the Lamb who slain, whose blood set us free to be people of God.” He delivers His taking your sins away to you. Body and blood into your mouth for the forgiveness of your sins. There’s no getting around who Jesus is there. He is the Lamb who “has mercy upon us and grants us His peace”—the forgiveness of sins. There He is your Lamb. He’s taken your sins. Forgives each, every, all. They’re His not yours. He doesn’t want to give them back. He wants you to receive forgiveness for when you do. So, take eat and drink, His Body and Blood—yours!

((II. Jesus takes away your neighbor’s sins, too.))

Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” JESUS TAKES AWAY EACH AND EVERY SIN. That includes your neighbor, too. Everyone you meet is someone Jesus died for. His blood covers all their sin. Whether they know it or not, He is their Lamb. John’s sermon is for them, too. All their sins at Calvary—blood-shed for, died-for, risen for, too. They really are included, just as much as you are—no matter what they’ve done. “World” means world.

Jesus really did take each and every one of their sins. The sins against you. The sins against others. Their sins and secrets and screwups are all drenched in the blood of the Lamb. They may know it. They may not. Either way. Jesus is still the Lamb of God. Universal, objective fact. “Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Not just then, but now. He would call them from their sins. He’ll let them have their sins, just like he’ll let you have yours. But He wants everyone covered in His blood, white-robed forever before Him. John’s sermon is for all. Jesus’ blood is for all. John’s message is every Christian pastor’s message. It’s every believer’s faith and message, too. It’s how we comfort and act toward one another as fellow Christians. It’s also the reason for how we treat and talk to everyone. JESUS TAKES AWAY EACH AND EVERY SIN. No exceptions. No exclusions. Even your neighbor’s.

((Conclusion.))

What a message! John’s a good preacher, telling only of Jesus. JESUS TAKES AWAY EACH AND EVERY SIN because He’s “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

That includes you. You’re part of “world.” So’s everyone you see in your daily life. His death atones for them. His blood covers all sins. He was raised for our justification before God. We don’t need our works to do it. No one does. We don’t need our sins, either. In fact, they’re not really yours anymore. Why keep taking them back? Don’t let your neighbor take them back either!

You’re baptized, you’re absolved, you’ve got Jesus’ body and blood. Jesus is your Lamb. Eternal fact. The Font, the Lord’s man, and His body and blood say so.

My entire sermon could’ve been said much shorter. Yes, JESUS TAKES AWAY EACH AND EVERY SIN. But John’s got me beat: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

INI + AMEN.

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