John 1:29 (NASB) - The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Long before this time by the Jordan River, God had given Moses detailed instructions for sacrifices. The Israelites knew that to be forgiven of the sins that separate them from God, something must die in their place.
When lambs were born the spotless, perfect ones were set apart. These meek, docile animals were slaughtered as substitutes for the sins of the people. All Jews at the time John was baptizing knew and followed the laws of sacrifice. The laws that were instituted by God as a foreshadowing of what the promised Messaiah would be and what He was to do when He came.
John declared that Jesus was "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". He was the promised Messaiah who would free, not only the Jews, but the whole world from the penalty for sin. There would no longer be a need to sacrifice animals; the "Lamb of God" would be sacrificed.
While the laws of sacrifice may be completely foreign to us, this is the time of year we praise and honor our Lord Jesus who abolished forever the need for a sacrificial system.
We remember His death - the One who died in our place - our sacrifice.