E. Schuyler English

Reprinted from The Pilgrim

Behold, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

That wonderful and exciting season, called by the Anglican Church “Advent” and which reaches its pinnacle on Christmas day, is with us. In Christendom there are two attitudes toward Christmas: celebration and commemoration. The world of commerce spurs unbelieving Jews and Gentiles alike to celebrate the occasion with presents, parties, and profits. In that culture Santa Claus has usurped the pre-eminent place. On the contrary, true Christians, whereas they also may send greetings, give gifts, and gather with their loved ones, commemorate Christmas as the birthday of the One whom God sent forth to be born of a woman and to redeem mankind —His Son Jesus Christ (Gal. 4:4-5).

The word “behold” is used more than 1300 times in the English Bible. In a number of instances it alludes specifically to Him who was born on the first Christmas day.

1. Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Immanuel (Isa. 7:14). Seven centuries before the first Christmas Isaiah announced it. In the same era Micah predicted the locale of the event, saying that out of Bethlehem the ruler of Israel, whose going forth had been from everlasting, would come (Mic. 5:2). So immanuel, meaning God with us, came as a babe and was laid in a manger — God manifest in the flesh, very God of very God. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14) .

2. Behold, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29). The babe of Bethlehem, who existed with the Father before the world was, was perfect in His humanity. He was not left in a manger but grew to manhood just as other boys do. Yet like no other child ever born, this One was born for the express purpose of dying, to give His life as a ransom for all (1 Tim. 2:5-6; cp. Mt. 20:28). Because of His unique person, because He was indeed God manifested in the Flesh,. He was without sin (Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22). Thus He was able to bear our sins and God “made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

3. Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7). This will occur in another advent season, at Christ’s second coming. He will not come to earth then as “the meek and lowly Jesus” but with power and great glory, to judge and to reign. Heaven will be opened and “behold,” He who is faithful and true will come forth. His eyes will be like a flame of fire and on His head there will be many crowns, for He will return to the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:11ff.).

Unbelievers then will not celebrate the second advent with the exchange of gifts and the drinking of eggnogs; for those who reject the One called “Jesus” will be obliged to bow their knees before Him and to confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). “Behold, I come quickly” — these are Christ’s last recorded words in heaven. Let us be ready for Him when He comes.

4. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me (Rev. 3:20). This gracious invitation is to all men and women everywhere right now. Eminent the Christmas in which the Lord Jesus Christ is pre-eminent.