by Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, our Gospel for today contains one of the most important and misunderstood lines in all of Christian Scripture. Spying Jesus, John the Baptist says, “Behold the Lamb of God.” In a very casual survey, I asked a number of people what this phrase means, and the answer I typically got was this: it means that he is gentle and humble and good, like a lamb.
But for a first-century Jew, the phrase had little if anything to do with that: it had to do with sacrifice. It meant that Jesus was someone who was destined to be sacrificed as a sin offering to God.
John the Baptist’s characterization of Jesus as the Lamb of God has to do with Temple sacrifice. He will be the one who offers the final and definitive sacrifice which reconciles divinity and humanity. He will offer something to the Father which will deal finally with the problem of sin, and in this we will find our salvation.