Warfield on the Lamb of God
Recently I have been working through Warfield’s volume of sermons The Saviour of the World. As I was re-reading several sermons that were recommended to me in seminary, I understood once again why these were recommended. Warfield had a depth of theological insight that is unsurpassed among most modern pastors and theologians. In his sermon “The Lamb of God,” Warfield reflected on John the Baptist’s declaration, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” and on the Baptist’s role in relation to Jesus:
In both alike [i.e. the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John] , the Baptist is purely the forerunner of the Lord, whose whole work consisted in making ready for the Lord’s coming. But the attention of the other evangelists is directed to the pathway prepared for the feet of the Lord; John’s is focused on the figure advancing over the road. They [i.e. Matthew, Mark and Luke] tell us, therefore, of the trumpet call to repentance which the Baptist sent ringing through the land, of his searching inquisition into the hearts of men, of his unsparing rebuke of evil whether in high places or low, of his flaming proclamation of judgment; John tells us rather of the testimony of the Baptist to Christ. From them [i.e. the synoptic Gospels] we learn accordingly what the Baptist thought of man; from John, what he thought of Christ.
A little later Warfield noted:
It is therefore that he lays such stress on the testimony of the Baptist to Jesus. Even from the reports of the Baptist’s teaching given in the other evangelists, we may perceive that he saw in Jesus a person, and expected of Him a work, which marked Him out as the divine Saviour of the world. What is thus implicit in their report [i.e. in the report of the three synoptic Gospels], however, is made explicit in John’s.
Warfield is suggesting the intimate connection between the Person and Work of Christ as it is taught by the apostle John. What the other Gospel writers intimate through their accounts ,John makes explicit in his when he recalls the day that John the Baptist stood before him and pointing at Jesus said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John the Baptist points to a Man who was “the Lamb of God.” The Man Christ Jesus would be the Lamb slain. His incarnation was bound up in the work He came to do. What a Savior!