Jesus is referred to in the Gospels as the Son of Man, at other times as the Son of God and in today’s Gospel (the Gospel of John) as the Lamb of God as St. John the Baptist declares Him, “here comes the Lamb of God”. There is a great deal of importance to be drawn and reflected upon in the manner in which Jesus is referred to when each of these deliberate expressions is used. Jesus is referred to many times as the “Son of Man” and this term is used many more times in the Old Testament; an important reference to Jesus’ fully human nature [we celebrate that our Lord came to us as one of us].
Jesus is also referred to as the Son of God which affirms His fully divine nature; that He is in fact God and we celebrate God with us, God among us.
Today we hear John the Baptist refer to Jesus in a humble way, as the “Lamb of God” bringing together many Judeo-Christian concepts, humanity, divinity and most importantly acknowledging ahead of the time soon to come of His Ultimate Sacrifice, as the Lamb sacrificed for all of humanity to bring us back to God.
Before we let go of today’s Gospel as simply a theological lesson, it’s important that we reflect on the significance of the manner in which we refer to Jesus as we live our lives as followers, Disciples of Christ. When we acknowledge Jesus as the “Son of Man”, we are reminded that our God is not a distant God speaking to us without truly knowing the human experience. He is a human being living a fully human life and so as His followers we are living His life in addition to our own. This means more than we are trying to be like Jesus; it also means our life is meaningful and purpose-driven (whether we’ve found that or realized that), just as His was!
When we acknowledge Jesus as “Son of God”, we are reminded that our God did indeed come into our midst and so all that we are and all that we are trying to be as Christians is beyond natural (it’s supernatural) and beyond ordinary (extraordinary) and so what it means to live a grace-filled life is to spend our lives seeking to live a Divine Life. We may not be God, but our life will be an extension of God when we seek to be holy.
When we acknowledge Jesus as the “Lamb of God”, we are reminded that our God is a God of Sacrifice and surrender. Jesus gave His entire life for us and made a sacrifice beyond comprehension. As His followers, sacrifice, surrender and sometimes suffering are important parts of who we are as Christians. Too often Christians are “written off” as fools for believing that sacrifice and suffering are good and important parts of life. We don’t just go looking for death and martyrdom – to do that WOULD be foolish. When it becomes part of our story and brings others closer to Jesus and brings strength to others it is of the greatest value to us and we consider it an act of love for others. We have so many examples of that in the world already, it shouldn’t be too hard to see sacrifice, surrender and suffering as a total gift of ourselves for God and for others – an essential part of our vocation!