,“Behold the Man” – Some thoughts for consideration.
A human being is a creature of time and space, a being within the created order.
It is written in Genesis that of all the creatures in creation, humans were the only ones made in the image of God.
What is this image of God that humans are fashioned to express?
In Colossians 1:15-20, Paul is explicit that Christ Jesus, the man, is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Jesus himself had emphatically claimed, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” and “I and the Father are one”.
Christ Jesus is Incarnate Son of God. However, in Revelation13:8, the reference to the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, suggests to me that Eternal Son of God, the Word Who was God, by, through and for whom creation came into being, in Triune Counsel, before creation was also this Lamb.
As such, would it be proper to say that this 'slain Lamb of God' is the initial image of the invisible God, conceived in eternity, in Triune Counsel and Being, purposed to be actualised in creation, to be born out of a woman, in the fullness of time,in the Person of the Incarnate Son, the man Christ Jesus?
To me this 'slain Lamb of God' imagery may be considered to be the genesis blueprint, plan, design for creation, to be realised and perfected in creation, in and through the Word becoming flesh, the man Christ Jesus.
Paul wrote: “For the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of the One who subjected it in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
For this, the Eternal Son of God, Lamb of God even in eternity, became flesh, a human (Lamb of God in time, space, and human history) that creation, including mankind may be set free from bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
For this, the Word came and became, to free creation and us, for as it is recorded, as Incarnate Son, the man Jesus, he said, “if the Son frees you, you are truly free.”
Not only did Incarnate Son as the Lamb of God take away the sin of the world, as Christ Jesus the man, 1John 2:2 also states: “He is the atonement for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.”
I glimpse a part of the unfolding mystery of Triune God’s nature and character through the image of the 'slain Lamb of God' penned beautifully by Paul;
1. As to what happened in eternity:
“Who, though existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be grasped. But He emptied Himself—taking on the form of a slave, and
2. As to when eternity and spacetime were joined and intersected as one:
“becoming the likeness of men.”
3. As to what happened in spacetime, in our human history:
And in fashion having been found as a man, He humbled Himself—becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
No wonder, Paul, after penning the above, continued:
“Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”- happening only after Lamb of God, as Jesus the man, was perfected at his resurrection.
Also, Triune God made Him(Eternal Son) Who knew no sin sin (singular - as in a created being, a human being, a man) for us, that we, might become the righteousness of God.
Query: Where was humanity made right with God, and when (did it) become the righteousness of God?
For me, the answer may be found in the gospel records associated with and of the baptism of Jesus, at the Jordan.
This event is also the only explicit record of the Theophany of God, Father, Son and Spirit being together in created space and time, in our human history.
“Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
“Immediately coming up out of the water, he (John) saw the heavens torn open, and the Spirit like a dove descending on Him (Jesus)” and a voice came from the heavens: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
This Triune Theophany happened, but only after Jesus was baptised into the baptism of repentance to “fulfill ALL righteousness.” For Jesus said concerning his baptism, "“Let it happen now, for in this way it is fitting for US to fulfill all righteousness.”
Note that Jesus used the word “us” instead of only“me”. For this baptism is not only for himself but also for us, for him to bring towards fruition of setting creation free from bondage into the glorious freedom of the children of God, through the 'fulfilling of all righteousness'.
It was only after Jesus, Lamb of God becoming one of us, for himself, for us, with us, in joint identification as us, acknowledged and repented for our sinsand the world's sin, to God, I submit, was all righteousness then fulfilled. Hence, Spirit's delight in and identification with Jesus by descending upon him as a dove, and Father's voice resounding throughout the heavens “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
For righteousness is all about being in a right relationship one with another. All this happened around the spacetime when and where Jesus was baptised. All righteousness or rightness was fulfilled between Triune God, the whole of creation, and humanity, there and then.
Is it any wonder that the Triune Theophany happened immediately after all this rightness was finally birthed into being, in, through and with the person of the man Christ Jesus, Lamb of God? Note again, this happened way before Jesus’ crucifixion and death at the cross at Calvary.
As such, I continue to meditate on the import and significance of this repentance by Jesus the man, Lamb of God, and its practical relevance to my living, in relationship to God, creation and fellow humans, in Christ.
In ending, I would like to share the words of the song “Behold the Man” which echoes the revelation of the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 53:1-12 and which holds a special place in my heart.
“Behold the Man, wounded and bruised, crown with thorns.
He was despised and rejected.
He was despised and rejected.
Behold the Man, man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
We hid our faces from him.
We hid our faces from him.
We did not know that it was for our sins He died, that for us the Son of God was crucified;
That in love He bore our sorrow and pain and in love He willingly suffered.
Behold the man, suffering in silence, bearing our shame.
We hid our faces from him.
We hid our faces from him.
We did not know that this was God the Father’s plan, for God to bring redemption down to man.
That in love He gave His only Son, so that we might be forgiven.
Behold the Man, Risen in glory, Coming to reign;
By the Father exalted, Crowned with glory and honour.
Behold the Man, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Through All Creation, Jesus Christ is Lord,
He is Lord, He is Lord. HE IS LORD.”
Behold The Man
 John 19:5 a proclamation made by Pilate, the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from 26/27 to 36/37 AD, of Jesus of Nazereth.
 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created in the heavens and on the earth, visible things and invisible things, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. 18 He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. 19 For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself by him, whether things on the earth or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross. WEB
 See also John 14:10-11, John 17:5,21,24
 John 1:14
 Galations 4:4
 Galatians 4:4” when the fulness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman(becoming out of - γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός}, made under the law – (becoming under (ὑπὸ-hypo) the law oγενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον). Note in both cases γενόμενον - Verb - Second Aorist Middle Deponent Participle - Accusative Singular Masculine- the becoming happening at a particular point in time.
 Romans 8:19-21 RSV
 ἐλευθερώσῃ Verb - Aorist Active Subjunctive - 3rd Person Singular ἐλευθερόω
eleutheroō Strong’s G1659 – makes free
 ὄντως ontōs Strong’s G3689 – Truly, in reality, in point of fact as opposed to what is pretended, fictitious , false – that which is truly etc… that which is indeed
 John 8:36 – my translation of the Greek
 1John 2:2 TLV see also Leviticus 16:30, 17:11 and Isaiah 53:11-12
 γενόμενος Verb - Second Aorist Middle Deponent Participle - Nominative Singular Masculine from γίνομαι – ginomai Strong’s G1096 same root word as “was made –became” in John 1:14
 Philippians 2:6-7 TLV
 σχήματι – schemati from root σχῆμα schema Strong’s G4976 - the habitus, as comprising everything in a person which strikes the senses, the figure, bearing, discourse, actions, manner of life. Synonym: see μορφή at the end, and Schmidt, chapter 182, 5. μορφή was the word translated as form in Philippians 2:6 preceding.
 YLT Philippians 2:8
 TLV philippians 2:8
 Philippians 21:9-11 WEB
 See post on Perfecting the Man Christ Jesus –A Glimpse into the Mystery of Suffering
 In 2 Corinthians 5:21 the word ἐποίησεν -Verb - Aorist Active Indicative - 3rd Person Singular from ποιέω poieō Strong’s 4160 – make
 See comments on word ‘sin’ in John 1:29 in previous post
 or “become” γινώμεθα - Verb - Aorist Active Indicative - 3rd Person Singular from γίνομαι
ginomai – same root word as that found in the words “was made – became”in John 1:14
 or rightness of God
 Matthew 3:16-17 WEB
 Luke 3:21-22 NIV
 Mark 1:10 AMP
 Mark 1:11 NASB
 Matthew 3:15 TLV Note also the Greek word πληρῶσαι translated as “to fulfil” Verb - Aorist Active Infinitive from πληρόω plēroō Strong’s G4137 – to make full, to fulfil – meaning of aorist - characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. There is no direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations. The events described by the aorist tense are classified into a number of categories by grammarians. The most common of these include a view of the action as having begun from a certain point ("inceptive aorist"), or having ended at a certain point ("cumulative aorist"), or merely existing at a certain point ("punctiliar aorist").
 Missing the mark
 Missing the mark See 1John 2:2
 Taken from the cantata "If My People" by Jimmy Owens. 1975? Lyrics are taken from Isaiah 53 - Christ the Suffering Servant
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
What a public proclamation by John the Baptist of the Person of Jesus.
John said of himself: ““I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” “I baptize with water,….but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
And of Jesus, after the proclamation: “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
John further testified: ““I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” “I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
Thereafter, it is recorded that John proclaimed specifically to two of his disciples, one of who was Andrew, who was to be one of Jesus’ earliest disciples: ““Behold, the Lamb of God!”
Of John, it is recorded that Jesus said:
1.“Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptizer; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.”
2. “For I tell you, among those who are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptizer, yet he who is least in God’s Kingdom is greater than he.”
I remember Dr. Ruth Edwards, my New Testament Greek lecturer at the University of Aberdeen in 1982, pointing to the class, that the tense of the verb “takes” as recorded in the phrase “ takes away the sin of the world” was that of the present active participle.
She explained that what this meant was that at that moment of the proclamation, Jesus was already actively taking away the sin of the world as Lamb of God. It was not something that was going to happen in the future – the verb being of the present active participle. In text and context, it was already happening in the person of Jesus, as Lamb of God, even as John spoke.
This statement of hers continues to its profound impact, to and for me, as to ‘Who’ I say Jesus is.
This text asserts and explicitly proclaims that the sin of the world was already being actively taken away in the person of Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, Lamb of God, way before his crucifixion and death on the wooden cross at Calvary.
For me, questions never asked and considered were and are now being asked, considered, framed and re-framed. In doing this, I am always indebted to Professor James Torrance, my Systematic Theology lecturer in Aberdeen, who shared with the class the principle that the “question always predetermines its answer”. Hence, for me, the importance of framing correct or incorrect questions, as incorrect questions asked will only give incorrect predetermined answers.
Three questions, concerning this mystery, that are continuingly arising, framed, re-framed, laid aside to be considered again, for me, are:
1. Have other writers in the New Testament alluded to this in their writings?
2. What is the significance of the Son of God being the Lamb of God?
3. What is this sin of the world that the Lamb of God was taking away and how?
Below are some passages in the New Testament that I opined are related to this proclamation.
1. The Apostle John, in Revelation, wrote that this Lamb was slain away from or before the foundation of the cosmos world, universe or creation.
2. In the first epistle attributed to Peter, it is written: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”
3. In Colossians, Paul wrote of this Person Lamb as the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created in the heavens and on the earth, visible things and invisible things, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things have been created through him and for him He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence..
In him also we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. For in him all the fullness of the Deity was pleased to dwell bodily, and through him to reconcile all things to himself by him, whether things on the earth or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross.
4. In Ephesians, Paul wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without defect before him in love, having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely gave us favor in the Beloved, in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in him.”
Significance of Son of God being Lamb of God
1. In the above passages, I find that creation was birthed from this plan and design of Triune God in, of and from the Triune counsel of Son being Lamb of God slain in eternity, to be actualised in the Son of God becoming flesh to be Lamb of God in time.
2. This is to ensure and realise in the fullness of the times, the summing up of all things, things in the heavens and things in earth, in person of Incarnate Son, as Lamb of God, in creation for life eternal.
3. For only through eternal Son of God being the slain Lamb of God in eternity and Incarnate Lamb of God in time, is Triune God able to reconcile all things to himself by him, whether things on the earth or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of Son of God’s cross of and by being Lamb of God in eternity and time.
4. As such, Son of God as Lamb of God becoming human and continuing to be Lamb of God is ever in-essence:
4.1 Entwined with the mystery of the Kingdom of God.
4.2 Indivisible from the mystery, the revelation of Jesus Christ, which was kept secret since the world began.
4.3 Indissoluble from the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ…. to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in him.
4,4 Conjoined with God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory”.
4.5 Joined as one in union and communion in the profound mystery of Christ and the church.
I believe that this joining as one in Christ in union and communion is part of the glory, which has been given to us in Christ, part of the glory Son had with the Father before the world existed. We are enabled though Spirit to become and participate as partners, joint heirs with and in the life of Incarnate Son of God as the Lamb of God, in and through the Spirit, within the constraints of our unique humanness, as humanly and divinely possible.
So what was this sin(singular) of the world that was being taken away in the person of Jesus, the Lamb of God, even before his crucifixion and death at the cross?
The Greek word for sin in John 1:29 is “ἁμαρτίαν–hamartian from ἁμαρτία-hamartia. Fundamentally the word connotes the meaning of missing the mark, error or failure.
What is this ‘mark’ that creation or the created order has missed?
Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:2 understood all that is in creation as: “Futility of futilities! All is futility.” The Wycliffe Bible describes it in parenthesis as “emptiness and futility, yea, everything is empty and futile.”
Paul in Romans 8:20 wrote: “For the creation was subjected to frustration and futility, not willingly [because of some intentional fault on its part], but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will also be freed from its bondage to decay [and gain entrance] into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
From the above, it would seem that the ‘mark’ that was missed was that of not being joined to divine essence, perfection and communion as divinely possible. The created nature and essence is not the same as the Divine, for creation, as is, has a beginning and will come to an end. The Divine is ever eternal, the Who was, is and is to come. Hence, the sin or missing the mark of creation is the unsurpassable chasm between what is created and what is Divine. It is inherently and essentially the difference in nature and essence between the Divine and created order.
According to Paul, this was not the will of Triune God. The plan and design for creation and all that is within it was for it to be set free from this bondage or sin into the glorious freedom of the children of God. This plan and design was already set in motion in Triune counsel eternity in Son, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself and took the form of a servant, consenting to become a man, a creature of creation. I believe that this is what is meant when it is written of the Lamb of God that was slain before the foundation of the worlds.
This is the only Way, the Truth and the Life whereby all things may be summed up in Christ to know the Father, and all things may be reconciled to Triune God, by and in the Person of Incarnate Son, whether things in heaven or on earth, visible or invisible.
Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
 WEB-World English Bible
 John 1:29
 Matthew 3:1
 John 1:23 NIV
 John 1:30-31 NIV
 John 1:32-33 NIV
 John 1:34 WEB. See also Matthew 3:16,17 “Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”WEB
 Matthew 11:11
 Luke 7:28
 αἴρων from αἴρω (airō) Strong’s G142 Verb - Present Active Participle - Nominative Singular Masculine
 Revelation 13:8 Greek ἀπὸ - apo Strong’s G575 – a primary article "off," i.e. away (from something near), in various senses (of place, time, or relation; literal or figurative)
 Revelation 13:8 GW, NOG, NIRV, NLT, OJB
 1 Peter 1:19-20
 Colossians 1:16-18 WEB
 Colossians 2:9 and Colossians 1:19
 Colossians 1:20
 Ephesians 1:3-10 WEB
 For me, counsel of Father initiating, Son mediating and Spirit generating
 blood = life See Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life [which it represents]” AMP
 See Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27 – Likewise, I posit that the personal cross for and of Jesus was being Lamb of God as Son of God and Son of man for “ the disciple is not above his teacher nor the slave above his Lord” Matthew 10:24,25, Luke 6:40, See also John 13:13-16
 Mark 4:11
 Romans 16:5
 Ephesians 1:9 WEB
 Ephesians 1:10 WEB
 1 Corinthians 2:7 WEB
 Ephesians 5: 31-32
 John 17:22,
 1 Corinthians 12:27
 Strong’s G266 -
 The term hamartia derives from the Greek ἁμαρτία, from ἁμαρτάνειν hamartánein, which means "to miss the mark" or "to err". It is most often associated with Greek tragedy, although it is also used in Christian theology. Wikipedia
 See Strong’s G5356 and G5351