Look to the Lamb of God

LIFE IN A LOOK

A funny thing happened one time when my wife was away overnight. In the early morning back then, I could usually be found in my study, preparing a Sunday sermon, or working on other things. And while I was doing that, on this occasion, our dog came into the room, put her head on my lap, and looked up into my eyes, piteously. I hadn't a clue what it was about, but that look! It said, better than any words, "Master, I've got a problem. And you're so smart. I know you can help me." (Dogs often flatter us with their confidence!)

Curious, I got up and followed her upstairs, to see what the trouble was. In the bedroom, I discovered an alarm clock beeping annoyingly. The dog went right up to the clock, wagging, as if to say, "See? I told you there was a problem! Now, fix it!" And of course, I did. It has happened occasionally since, but now I know what she means by that "look."

There are all kinds of looks, are there not? And we often get a clue from the expression on a person's (or even a dog's) face, what they are thinking, or what they want. There is a cold, uncaring look that may bespeak cruelty and malice. Or a look of good humour and friendship that seems to invite us in. Also there are looks that register compassion and concern, or devotion and confident trust.

When the camp of Israel was infested with poisonous snakes out in the wilderness, God commanded Moses to erect a serpent of bronze. Then the Lord promised, "Everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live" (Num. 21:8). And so it was. It is not that some magic power resided in the image itself. God is not in the business of dispensing lucky charms. That look meant, "I believe what God has said; I believe His provision is abundantly adequate for my need. Therefore, I am going to obey His word. I trust Him to save me."

Many years later, when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about His coming death, He made reference to the serpent in the wilderness (Jn. 3:14-16). The parallels are obvious. The bronze serpent was like a real one, but without the deadly poison. Similarly, God sent His Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3), but "without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Christ took the punishment for our sin upon Himself. And the same kind of look is required, if we are to be cleansed of our sin and receive God's gift of eternal salvation. It is a look of faith that says, "I believe what God has said about the Saviour. I believe His provision is abundantly adequate for my need. Therefore, I will obey the gospel call, and trust in Him alone to save me."

Back in the nineteenth century, a man named Henry Jackson (1838-1914) and his wife Alice worked as missionaries in Argentina. Later, he served as a pastor in the United States. Today, Pastor Jackson is remembered for a hymn he wrote inviting sinners to look to the Christ in faith. It says: "If you from sin are longing to be free, look to the Lamb of God. / He, to redeem you, died on Calvary, Look to the Lamb of God....For He alone is able to save you, / Look to the Lamb of God."

As John the Baptist put it, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (Jn. 1:29). Behold Him, yes. But not simply out of academic curiosity, or as part of mere religious ritual. Turn your gaze upon Jesus in confident trust. He is the One who bore the punishment for our sins on the cross. Consider the Lamb of God, who died in your place, and rose again, in triumph over death. Look to Him and say, "I believe that Jesus died for me." There's life in a look.