An active looking.
A dwelling upon and taking in.
A gazing upon.
An embracing with your eyes and heart.
In John 1:29 we read of an occasion when John the Baptist sees Jesus coming towards him. He declares to his disciples:
Behold, the Lamb of God, the one who takes away the sin of the world!
…it’s a command to those with John.
To look. To notice. To take in. To understand.
Today marks the beginning of Lent. That season of the church calendar when we begin journeying towards Easter…towards the cross. I’m using a Lent devotional by a Latvian pastor from the 1800s. Today, my reading included this:
The season of Lent admonishes us to look well at this Lamb, and John exhorts us with his challenge, ‘Behold’.
Just as once the children of Israel in the wilderness, seeking help from the bites of fierce snakes, looked up to the bronze serpent, so we too look to the Crucified One, who bore our burden and atoned for our guilt. We would look to him with even fuller, ever deeper and more grateful faith. But for this, new and pure eyes are necessary. We must ask the Lord for these if we want to grasp our Redeemer’s suffering in the depths of our hearts.
With such eyes, my soul, contemplate your suffering Saviour. See him in the garden of Gethsemane in the shadow of the night, lying prostrate on his face, struggling with death and sweating drops of blood. See him in the judgment hall, bearing in silence the lashes of the cruel executioner, enduring spitting and a crown of thorns. Take your place before the cross at Golgotha and hear the last seven words of the dying man. Look at the bloody wounds on his head, his limbs quivering with pain, his eyes filled with tears.
Look still deeper: look into the heart of Jesus and see his obedience to his Father and his compassion for you. See his heart break and his head bowed in death. Look until your heart also breaks in pain and love, and your eyes overflow with tears of gratitude
So, will you make some time to do some beholding in the coming 40 days?
To ponder afresh the journey to the cross? To take in again, Jesus’ sacrifice?
Let’s behold together.