18th January – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

In today’s gospel passage John the Baptist refers to Jesus and the Lamb of God. The history of the title ‘Lamb of God’ sheds much light on Jesus’ mission and ministry. The Jewish nation experienced deliverance from Egypt through the sacrifice of a lamb. The prescriptions for this sacrifice were specific. The lamb was to be `without blemish, a male a year old’ (Exod. 12:5). They were to eat it at night and daub the lintels of their doorways with its blood. The blood of the lamb protected them from the destructive power of the angel.

The imagery of the sacrificial lamb became an important motif for Israel. Jeremiah described himself as one like a lamb led to the slaughter (Jer. 11:19). Isaiah developed this idea further in his image of the Servant of the Lord: the Servant was also like a lamb led to the slaughter, silent and resigned in the face of death (Isa. 53:7).

These two prophets pointed to the humility and obedience so perfectly manifested in Jesus. He is the true paschal Lamb (John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:19). He is the One who is pure, blameless and without stain of sin (John 8:46; 1 John 3:5; Heb. 9:14). In John’s Gospel, the similarities between Jesus’ death and the Passover lamb are striking. Jesus was crucified at the very hour when, according to the stipulations of the Torah, the lambs for the Passover sacrifice were killed in the Temple. Like the sacrificial lamb none of Jesus’ bones were broken (Exod. 12:46).

Lord Jesus, you are the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Help me to know the great love you have shown for me and to rejoice in the fruits of your Sacrifice. (Bible Alive)