In John’s gospel, Jesus comes to be baptised by St John the Baptist and John sees him and says, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’ (Jn 1:29). The priest and people say exactly the same words at every Mass before Holy Communion. Lamb of God refers to two things:
1. Jesus is the suffering servant (Is 53:7-12). His mission was to ‘give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mk 10:45). On the Cross he was the perfect sacrifice that won forgiveness for all the sins of the world. The Book of Revelation refers 20 times to the Lamb who rises to victory after being slain, referring to Jesus’ Resurrection.
2. Jesus is also the Paschal Lamb. God chose Moses to lead the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt, symbolised every year at the Passover by a lamb. The Lord Jesus is the true Paschal Lamb because he frees us from the real slavery of sin.