Which god is famous in the world?
In this Sunday's Gospel, the congregation heard John the Baptist say his most famous phrase: "See the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." What exactly is meant by that?
When the Lamb of God is mentioned in the Church, it means Jesus Christ. The lamb, also in the picture, is the most common symbol for Christ. The name has several origins. The most important of these is John the Baptist. When he saw Jesus approaching him at the Jordan, he said this famous sentence: "See the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The biblical scholar Gunther Fleischer explains what this designation is Lamb Of God says about Jesus: "Devotion for others. So this Jesus is one who gives his life for others and he does this entirely in the service of God. Therefore: Lamb of God."
The lamb as a sacrificial animal in the Old Testament
But why does John the Baptist use the image of the lamb of all things for this? The lamb has always played an important role in the Jewish faith. In the Old Testament it is reported how the Israelites slaughtered and ate the so-called Passover lamb (Hebrew: Passover = to pass by) on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites coated the doorposts of their houses with the blood of the lamb, whereupon God spared the marked houses when he punished Egypt (Exodus 12). From then on, the Passover lamb became the decisive sacrificial animal in Jewish use. And Gunther Fleischer makes it clear that this lamb, whose blood was also offered in the sacrificial ritual at that time in the sense of the forgiveness of sins, could be a background for the speech of the Lamb of God to Jesus: "He is the one who will finally give his life - to Salvation from sins. "
The Baptist remembered Isaiah's servant of God
But there is a second, arguably even more important, reference from the Old Testament that John the Baptist might have thought of when he referred to Jesus as the Lamb of God. The prophet Isaiah speaks in detail about the so-called servant of God. This servant is a person chosen by God who dies for the sins of his people. And there it says about him: "He was depressed, but he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter." (Isaiah 53.7)
The prophecy of the Servant of God was then related to Jesus, "because people suddenly realized: 'He dies because of us. He takes our guilt upon himself.' And he just accepts that and doesn't complain or scream, but falls silent like a lamb in front of his clipper, "says Gunther Fleischer. And then the name Lamb of God is very reminiscent of the Passion of Jesus, of his silent endurance of the death on the cross. In this way John the Baptist becomes a prophet who already sees this coming fate of Jesus and his task from God. See the Lamb of God.
"Lamb of God" - center of the Christian faith
This designation later became so characteristic of Jesus that the phrase found its way into Catholic worship. But only in the 7th century, because up until then there was the conviction that Jesus should not be given an animal name. Under Pope Sergius, a counter-movement then formed that fought for the term with reference to its use in the Bible. And so the title Lamb of God got into the service, and there in a special place: Immediately before receiving Holy Communion, i.e. at the time when the Catholics receive Jesus Christ themselves in the celebration of Mass: See the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world points to the central secret of faith of Christians: They believe in Jesus Christ, who died for their sins.
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