“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!””
John 1:29, 35-36 NKJV
There is a saying that I love “we become what we behold”.
When looking at the definition of the word “behold” I believe this saying begins to really ring true.
[Behold: to perceive through sight or apprehension : see. : to gaze upon : observe.]
As we gaze upon something (or better yet someone), and really spend time in close examination until we perceive in a deeper manner what we are looking at or looking towards, it is likely we will begin to take on certain characteristics that we see in them. Especially if our intention is to discover something about them that we admire or desire to comprehend in a deeper manner. So when John the Baptist says “Behold the Lamb of God” in John 1:29 it is much deeper than him saying “hey guys look over there”, He is making a declaration of the identity of Jesus the Messiah as well as exhorting his disciples to “gaze upon and observe” in order to become more like him.
Jesus did not come to the earth with the sole purpose to die for our sins and then resurrect to new life, although, that was an essential part of His mission when leaving His throne in heaven and becoming a man. If that was the only objective then why wouldn’t
His death come much sooner and why the 3 years of ministry first? That is because another important aspect of His time on earth was the example He gave us of how to live on the earth under the new covenant, with the Holy Spirit. His life was a demonstration of how we might live life “more abundantly”. What John was (and still is) instructing us to do is to Behold Jesus, truly see him in the fullness of who He is, gaze deep into His eyes, study and perceive His words and deeds while He was on the earth, and by doing so we can grow in His likeness and become what we behold in Him.
The Good Shepherd
“So Jesus said again, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, I am the Door for the sheep [leading to life]. All who came before Me [as false messiahs and self-appointed leaders] are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not hear them. I am the Door; anyone who enters through Me will be saved [and will live forever], and will go in and out [freely], and find pasture (spiritual security). The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His [own] life for the sheep. But the hired man [who merely serves for wages], who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming, deserts the flock and runs away; and the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. The man runs because he is a hired hand [who serves only for wages] and is not concerned about the [safety of the] sheep. I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]— even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My [very own] life [sacrificing it] for the benefit of the sheep.”
John 10:7-15 AMP
Just as John announced the identity of Jesus as “the lamb of God”, in this passage Jesus declares that He is also the Good Shepherd and the Door to His Father in heaven. He is our keeper as well as the pathway to our Heavenly Father. David also identifies Jesus in the same manner in Psalms 23:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.”
Psalms 23:1-3 NKJV
It is important for us to understand that Jesus was both the Lamb of God that became our Passover sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7) and is our Good Shepherd. As we behold the lamb we are also beholding the Good Shepherd, the one who loves us, cares for us, directs us to green pastures and still waters, corrects us in love, and always points us to God the Father.
We are sheep that God wants to use as shepherds also. We will always be the sheep of His pasture and the apple of His eye, but as we continue to behold Him, we also begin to lead others as shepherds to Jesus. It is not enough for us to only be sheep as this world also needs shepherds. As we see in John 10:12 there are “hirelings” who are supposed to keep watch over the flocks, but because they have no interest in anything but themselves, when danger comes they are no where to be found. They run and leave the sheep to be devoured by the wolves. Jesus makes it clear that He is the Good Shepherd and those who are within His flock can easily be identified because “they know my voice”. The more we gaze and abide in Jesus through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit the more we reflect His very nature and we likewise shepherd and lead His people into the safe and loving arms of the Father.
“As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.”
Ezekiel 34:12 NKJV
“He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.”
Isaiah 40:11 NKJV
The Lord is always seeking the lost to bring them into the fold, and He desires to use us as partners with Him to accomplish this mission. The Lord is seeking all those who are His sheep to Behold the Lamb AND Become the Shepherds! This is our mission and it is vitally important because it is the heart of God “that none should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). And those who are in the fold are instructed to teach the new arrivals in the art of BEHOLDING.
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”
John 21:15-17 NKJV