“Behold” is not one of those words we use everyday. The only person who might use that word regularly would be someone like a magician dramatically declaring, “Behold!” after some card trick.
We do find “behold” on the pages of our Bibles, depending upon translations, of course. One of the first to come to mind is the declaration of John the Baptist about Jesus – “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Up to that point, all eyes were on John as he preached in his camel’s hair clothing accessorized with a leather belt. He must have been a sight to behold both in his looks and because of his powerful message.
When we say, “behold,” we are diverting people’s attention to something or someone else. It is very similar to calling out, “Look!” and pointing a finger at something in the distance. We are saying with one simple word, “Stop what you are doing. Shift you focus over there.”
John understood his mission. He had drawn great crowds filled with people from every walk of Jewish society. Even the religious leaders found their way into the wilderness to catch sight of this unusual man and hear his provocative message that had made so many people leave their daily routine to go and hear him.
The apostle John records the instance when Jesus was nearby and John the Baptist catches sight of Him. You can almost visualize John preaching his heart out, then suddenly stopping and staring above the heads of the crowds, perhaps shielding his eyes from the sun to make sure he saw who it was clearly. And once he was certain, a childlike excitement comes to his face and he shouts with a strange combination of enthusiasm and desperation – “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
Everything that John had said and done was leading to this point in time. A radical shift would take place as people began to look less to John and more to Jesus. John’s crowds became smaller. More and more people were drawn to Jesus. And when John’s disciples saw the change, they were concerned. John’s answer shows he was at peace with God’s plan – “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
There are two lessons we might learn from John the Baptist:
(1) Its not about us.
The world wants us to believe otherwise. Here in the United States we have been indoctrinated to have a consumer mentality. We are constantly reminded to follow our hearts. Parents tells their children, “I just want you to be happy.” This kind of mindset stands in stark contrast to the attitude of John and the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus. Jesus made it clear – “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:42-44)
(2) We are to point people to Jesus.
It’s not enough to be humble in our attitude. Our humility might inspire someone, but it will never save anyone. John made it clear both who Jesus was and why Jesus came. He is the Lamb of God, and what that means is that Jesus is the Savior of the world. He shed His blood on the cross for our guilt, not for His. Just as the Passover lamb was to be without spot or blemish, Jesus was clean, pure, sinless, perfect. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. When we place our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, He has taken our sin and given us His righteousness enabling us to be accepted in the presence of the Father.
We are now the ones who say to the people around us, “Behold! The Lamb of God.” We don’t have to wear camel’s hair clothing or eat locusts for breakfast to do this. Jesus called us (you and me) to be witnesses to the world (Acts 1:8) and to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).