Jesus: Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world

This essay will explore the meaning of the proclamation by John the Baptist in 1.29, and how it applies to Jesus within the Fourth Gospel. There is a multivalence of symbolism attached to the title ‘Lamb of God’, which is compounded further by the additional ‘who takes away the sin of the world’. Some of the more obvious associations, to be explored below, are the Passover lamb (with exodus narrative associations); the suffering servant of Isaiah 52.13-15 and 53; and the apocalyptic lamb of Revelation and contemporaneous apocalyptic literature. Rather than narrowing the ‘Lamb of God’ symbolism to a single meaning, I attempt to allow the possibility of all associations (that I have space to explore) to enrich our understanding of this loaded declaration. I find meaning for the Baptist’s proclamation in the liberation theme of Passover and the ‘scapegoat’ motif of the suffering servant, showing how these culminate in a victorious apocalyptic lamb.

 

Lamb of God: multiple layers of meaning

The title ‘Lamb of God’ is used for Jesus twice in the Gospel of John, and both times by John the Baptist. The first is a 1.29, when the Baptist declares, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” This proclamation is the centrepiece of a chiasm from 1.19 to 1.36.[1] The second is at 1.36, “the next day”, when again the Baptist proclaims upon seeing Jesus, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” At this, two of his disciples cease following the Baptist, and Jesus gains his first two disciples (v 37). Ubiquitous as the title ‘Lamb of God’ seems in Christianity, it does not appear in the Hebrew Bible, much less associated with ‘taking away the sin of the world’.[2] To find the meaning behind this obscure proclamation, we must dig deeper into a variety of allusions.

 

(1)          Passover lamb

Throughout the Hebrew bible, the word ‘lamb’ is used mainly in relation to Passover.[3] The Passover festival has a particular prominence in the Gospel of John, with Jesus’ ministry divided chronologically into three Passovers.[4] Passover imagery is perhaps strongest in the Passion narrative. Jesus becomes, metaphorically, the Passover lamb. Poignantly, Jesus dies on the Preparation Day before Passover, at the hour the paschal lambs were being slaughtered in the temple in Jerusalem. This marks a change in chronology from the synoptics, which have Jesus dying on Passover, so that in John’s Gospel Jesus is most fully identified with the Passover lambs.[5]

 

The Passion narrative contains additional Passover associations: for example the wine is raised to Jesus’ lips on a branch of hyssop (19.29), which was the instrument by which the blood of the Passover lamb was to be applied to the doorposts of the Hebrews in Egypt, on that first Passover.[6] Similarly the soldiers do not break Jesus’ bones (19.33) – said to occur in order that the scripture might be fulfilled: “None of his bones shall be broken” (v 36). This is likely a reference to Passover regulations, which stipulate that the bones of the lamb remain in tact (Exod 12.46; Num 9.12).[7]

 

Understood properly, the Passover meal is situated in its wider narrative: that is, as the symbolic beginning of the great exodus from Egypt. The Fourth Gospel contains many exodus allusions, particularly in the feeding story at Chapter 6.

 

The feeding story begins with Jesus travelling to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (6.1). Outside of the gospels this body of water was generally referred to as a ‘lake’. ‘Sea’ is a rhetorical strategy used to recall the primal sea of crossing: the ‘Red Sea’ that marks the beginning of the exodus journey in Exod 11.[8] With a key exodus motif lingering in our minds, a “large crowd” that is “following” comes into the picture, reminding us of the throngs of Israelites exiting Egypt and following the pillars of crowd and fire (Exod 13.21-22). We are given a picture of wilderness, with the mountain at v 3 and grass at v 10. Jesus’ going “up the mountain” (v 3) recalls Moses going up the mountain to commune with God, at Exod 19.[9] We are now told that “the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near” (v 4). By now, the exodus story is planted firmly in the background of this narrative. At vv 5-6, Jesus ‘tests’ Philip by quizzing him on where they are to buy bread for the crowd that has gathered. This idea of ‘testing’ also carries powerful exodus overtones, harking back to God ‘testing’ his people (Exod 20.20; Deut 8.2-3).[10]

 

The exodus imagery is continued from 6.22-59, with the Bread from Heaven discourse. There is an explicit mention of the ancestors eating manna in the wilderness (v 31), and of Moses (v 32). Importantly, this discourse enters into the notion of eating Jesus’ flesh, which has eucharistic connotations for Christian readers, but also (to alert Jews reading this text) adds to the idea of Jesus as Passover lamb. I will return to this point shortly.

 

(2)          The suffering servant

Central to the Leviticus stipulations regarding atonement is the ancient use of the ‘scapegoat’ (16.10, 20-22). After the priest has finished making sacrifices of atonement, he then brings forth a live goat, lays hands on the goat’s head and:

confess[es] over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and sending it away into the wilderness… The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region… (vv 21-2)

The scapegoat literally ‘takes away’ the sins of the people, to a barren place – an analogy to the Baptist’s declaration of Jesus who ‘takes away the sin of the world’.

 

The ‘suffering servant’ passage of Isaiah 52.13-16 to 53.1-12 uses language and concepts familiar to that of the scapegoat. For example:

            Surely he has borne our infirmities
   and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
   struck down by God, and afflicted. 
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
   crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
   and by his bruises we are healed. 
All we like sheep have gone astray;
   we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all. (53.4-6)

 

Additionally, the suffering servant’s life is “an offering for sin” (53.10), and “he shall bear their iniquities” (v 11). He “bore the sin of many” (v 12). The ‘suffering servant’ of Isaiah is a kind of scapegoat, but in the form of a human.[11] In particular, the line, “upon him was the punishment that made us whole” eludes to a scapegoat functionality: that the punishment of one person (or in the case of Leviticus, the exile of a goat) brings shalom to the collective.

 

The ‘suffering servant’ motif of Isaiah 52.13-15 and 53 can be found weaved through the narrative of the Fourth Gospel, but mainly in the description of Jesus’ death. The marred appearance of Jesus in John 19.4-6 analogises to the ‘marred’ suffering servant of Isa 52.14. Jesus’ silence before Pilate at 19.9 could compare with “the sheep that before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isa 53.7), especially given Jesus has already been titled ‘Lamb of God’, as explored above. Jesus’ side is ‘pierced’ at 19.34, which could relate to the wounds of the suffering servant at Isa 53.5 (some translations use the word ‘pierced’). Jesus is buried by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who were probably rich or at least of high social standing, which could correspond to Isa 53.9 that the suffering servant is given a “tomb with the rich”.[12] Additionally Isaiah 53.6 (“All we like sheep have gone astray”) is evoked at John 10.12, at the ‘scattering’ of the sheep, and the metaphor of Jesus as the good shepherd, who is prepared to “lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10.15).

 

Although the Passover lamb is not explicitly about taking away sin, the motif of suffering servant, intertwined as it is in that of the scapegoat, is intimately tied up with the bearing or the taking away of sin. As such, we can see that the declaration of Jesus as “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” has multiple layers and directions of meaning.

 

(3)          The apocalyptic lamb

It is difficult to ignore associations with the apocalyptic lamb, especially given its prominence in Revelation 5-6, which is Johannine in origin.[13] In the Book of Revelation the Lamb is rendered thus:

‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honour and glory and blessing!’ (5.12)

 

The apocalyptic lamb is conquering and triumphant, which resonates with the cross as the place of eschatological triumph in the Gospel of John.[14] The image of God’s conquering hero as a ‘Lamb’ was prevalent at that time – found in apocalyptic literature aside from Revelation (see e.g. TestJos 19.8; 1 Enoch 90.38).[15] This is surely an aspect of Jesus as Lamb of God in the Fourth Gospel.

 

The ‘Lamb of God’ may also reference cultic sacrifices of atonement (see Leviticus 16), and the binding of Isaac. As interesting as these aspects are, they are not absolutely critical to my thesis, and space does not permit me to discuss them here.

 

Tying the threads together

With so many dimensions to Jesus as ‘Lamb of God – who takes away the sin of the world’, there are surely multiple ways these can be tied together to form a coherent picture of what is meant by the Baptist’s declaration. What I offer here is but one path, which I hope is both sensible and edifying.

 

We began with the image of Jesus as Passover lamb, perhaps the primary ‘lamb’ association in John’s Gospel. The connection with Passover places the Gospel in the context of a narrative that has concrete social and political implications: that is, it marks the beginning of the great liberation of the Hebrews from slavery under the Egyptian government. The exodus imagery is built upon in the feeding narrative of chapter 6, as expounded above. In some sense, Jesus is a kind of ‘liberator’.

 

From what is Jesus liberating? John 8.31-59 provides some answers. Here, we find the language of slavery, which should have immediate resonance with the exodus story. Additionally, the setting for this passage is the Feast of Tabernacles, which is another festival that looks back over the progression of events that brought God’s people from slavery to liberty.[16] It is the Jews (“who had believed in him”) that bring this motif to the fore. After Jesus declares, “[T]he truth will made you free” (8.32), the Jews respond, “We are descendents of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” Here, the Jews appear to be in denial. They have been slaves – to Egypt – and the story of slavery and subsequent deliverance is a central foundational story for the Jews. It is ludicrous for the Jews to suggest that they have never been slaves to anyone.

 

Jesus does not pick them up on their lapse of memory, but replies, “Amen, amen, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” (v 34). In doing so, Jesus shifts the frame from slavery in Egypt, to slavery to sin. Chapter 8 is the next time ‘sin’ as a noun occurs, after the Baptist’s declaration in chapter 1.[17] Just as the Jews are momentarily ignorant to the fact that they were once slaves in Egypt, they are ignorant of their slavery to sin. Just as God liberated the people from Egypt, Jesus will liberate the people from sin: “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (v 36). In other words, the new exodus is at hand. In a way analogous to the blood of the Passover lamb that saved the people from death (Exod 12.21-30) so “whoever keeps [Jesus’] word will never see death” (John 8.51).[18] This is the “truth” that sets you free (v 32). The idea of being freed by truth has no precedent in Hebrew Scriptures, but is a new paradigm, introduced by Jesus.[19] In John’s Gospel, Jesus is the new liberator.

 

The liberation of Jesus goes beyond that offered in the exodus story: it offers ‘eternal life’. This is the point expounded in the ‘bread from heaven’ discourse at 6.22-59. While the ancestors “ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died” (v 48), Jesus is (egō eimi) “the bread of life” (v 48); “the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever” (v 51a). It seems that the ancestors were offered life for a little while, but they ultimately died; Jesus, on the other hand, offers “eternal life” (see 6.27, 40, 47, 54).

 

Here we find strong links to the paschal lamb – the “bread” given “for the life of the world” suddenly becomes Jesus’ “flesh” (v 51b). Three times, between vv 52-59, are the Jews urged to “eat my flesh and drink my blood” (vv 53, 54, 56). Jesus’ “flesh is true food and [his] blood is true drink” (v 55). The flesh of the slaughtered lamb was eaten and the blood sprinkled on the door to provide sustenance for the journey and protection against death. Now, Jesus as the new paschal lamb is to be eaten and the blood drunk – to provide eternal life.[20]

 

Importantly, this paschal lamb is alive. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven,” says Jesus at v 51, in an important egō eimi statement. Jesus flesh and blood – his living self – is now the new food and drink of the community.[21] In the bread from heaven discourse of chapter 6, Jesus is no sacrifice. Eternal life is to be gained through the life of Jesus; by “abiding in me,” which is another well of meaning from which the evangelist draws (v 56).[22] This discourse is set within a Passover meal, near the time of the Passover. The people are asked to recline (v 10), making this ‘feeding’ much more than a feeding: it is a meal.[23] In the bread from heaven discourse, the Passover meal is re-imagined: no longer is there a slaughtered lamb at the centre, remembering a liberation from long ago, but the living Jesus is the new food, now offering eternal life.

 

What is this “eternal life” of which Jesus so often speaks? Carter urges us not to read this only in an individual, spiritual sense, but to grasp its communal, social and political connotations and repercussions.[24] Early Christian readers and listeners would have felt the language of the Roman Empire ringing in their ears upon hearing the Fourth Gospel speak of “eternal life”, resonating as it did with the dominant idea of “eternal Rome”.[25] Rome fancied itself as living in an everlasting golden era, marked by wealth, fertility and civic order. The word translated to ‘eternal’ or ‘everlasting’ in our English bibles is a cognate of the Greek word ‘age’ or ‘era’.[26] Jesus offers not the ‘age of Rome’, but the ‘age of life’.

 

The notion of an ‘age of life’ tapped into Jewish eschatology, which understood history through ‘ages’ or periods of time. The present age was generally viewed negatively – marked by sin, evil, political injustice, social oppression or economic exploitation. A future age was promised, where God would intervene and restore justice, ending all evil and sinfulness.[27] (See, for example, almost the whole of the book of Isaiah, for the shift between the current age of sin and injustice, to the coming age where God will judge sin and restore justice.)

 

The Jesus of the Fourth Gospel speaks of a future eschatology (e.g. “…all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day” – 6.40, also v 44). However the ‘age of life’ is also placed firmly in the present day (i.e. realised eschatology): for example, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life…” (3.36a).[28] The notion of ‘ages’ speaks of life and death in a wider, communal sense, rather than an individual bodily sense. Thus, when Jesus speaks of the ancestors ‘dying’ in the wilderness after eating manna (6.48), he may be alluding to an ‘age’ of death. Jesus, on the other hand, brings an ‘age of life’ for those who believe (e.g. 6.40).

 

The ‘age of life’ language has social and political connotations, but also social and political ramifications. The Fourth Gospel gives us a vivid picture of what ‘abundant life’ (see 10.10) looks like. It is life that is marked by love (13.34-35) and mutual servanthood (13.13-17), and involves feeding the hungry (6.1-14) and healing the crippled (5.1-9) and blind (9.1-7). It is an alternative way of life, within an alternative community bound together by love – which is entirely at odds with the hierarchical society under Roman rule, marked by domination and a self-interested honour-ethic.[29] The ‘age of life’ sits opposed to the ‘age of Rome’: the ‘age of life’ is from a “kingdom [that] is not from this world” (18.36). In the ironic words of the Jews, “Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor” (19.12).

 

To summarise thus far, I have argued that Jesus is a new kind of ‘liberator’, in the exodus tradition but offering a new ‘age of life’ to those who believe. Believers must consume the living flesh and blood of Jesus, in a kind of communal meal that builds on the Passover liberation meal, in which the lamb is eaten and shared. The ‘age of life’ that Jesus is heralding is in opposition to the ‘age of Rome’, and the markers of this life and very different from those of the dominant society.

 

The paschal lamb metaphor, as expanding the bread from heaven discourse, helps us to understand how Jesus brings eternal life. But how does the Lamb of God ‘take away the sin of the world’? If the Gospel of John relates to the social and political conditions in which it was written, ‘the world’ must be thought of, at least in part, as society under the Roman Empire. With this in mind, we get an idea of what is “the sin of the world” must entail – which Jesus, Lamb of God, is to take away (1.29). Sin, in the singular, denotes not an act, but a broader condition.[30] The suffering servant motif deepens our understanding further, and it is to this that I will now turn. I described above how the suffering servant text of Isa 52.13-15 to 53 contains the notion of the servant taking away sin, by being a human scapegoat. Here I draw on the work of Sandra Schneiders, who argues that Jesus of the Fourth Gospel acts as a scapegoat. Schneiders seeks to understand how this mechanism ‘takes away the sin of the world’.[31]

 

It is Caiaphas who clearly enunciates the scapegoat principle: “[I]t is better to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed” (11.50; see also 18.14).[32] The death of Jesus, Caiaphas prophesies, will “gather into one the dispersed children of God” – thus fulfilling the nationalist hopes of Israel (cf. Isa 56.8).

 

Such a statement is paradigmatic of the mechanism utilised by social groupings right throughout space and history. A person or group is identified that somehow seems to be different from the majority, and thus threatening. In our own society, we might think of people seeking asylum. At a micro level, we might think of the too-pimply, too-tall or not-Aussie-enough kid in the schoolyard. The group or person that appears ‘different’ then gets the blame for the social ills of the group. They are then disposed of. The asylum seeker is locked indefinitely into detention; the unpopular kid at school is so bullied that she leaves the school. This ‘scapegoating’ idea is expounded by René Girrard, as part of his principle of mimetic rivalry.[33] It is this idea that Schneiders understands as connected to the Jesus of the Fourth Gospel.

 

Jesus is like these aforementioned scapegoats, in that he is just one more victim of violence. Yet he is also different, because he is absolutely, rather than just relatively, innocent.[34] As such, Jesus “strips away the rationalization and reveals the innocence of all scapegoats and the guilt of all who sacrifice them”.[35] In other words, the murder of Jesus shows us the real injustice behind the scapegoating mechanism, because unlike the asylum seeker or the unpopular kid at school, who have some sin, Jesus is without sin. He is scapegoated for the benefit of the group.

 

Under the dominion of Rome, the Jews still have their nationalist hopes. See how Pilate goads the Jews with his continual reference to Jesus as “King of the Jews” (18.39; 19.14, 15, 19), when their greatest desire is to have their own king. He gives into their wish to crucify Jesus only after they confess, humiliated, that “We have no king but the emperor”.[36] Jesus – who breaks their law (e.g. by healing on the Sabbath), who many want to make king (6.15), and who preaches an ‘age of life’ – threatens the Judaic order and shines the light on their nationalist failures by offering a rich and viable alternative. Jesus is a threat and so to preserve the integrity of the group, he is handed over to be murdered. In the words of the prophet Isaiah:

he was wounded for our transgressions,
   crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
   and by his bruises we are healed. (53.5)

The Jewish authorities thought that shalom would be achieved through Jesus’ death.

 

And yet, Jesus’ death is his moment of glorification. “The crucifixion was a classic case of scapegoating, and Jesus is the paradigmatic scapegoat, who enters freely into the dynamic in order to subvert it at its root…”[37] By allowing himself to be murdered by the state, in conjunction with the Jewish authorities, he reveals ‘the world’ and all of its violent scapegoating for what it really is. ‘Peace’ is temporarily achieved now that Jesus is out of the picture. This is the ‘peace’ of Rome, achieved through violent conquering.[38] In classic Johannine irony, Jesus brings true ‘peace’. This he bestows on his disciples before death: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (14.27), and again at 16.33, in which he adds, “I have conquered the world!”

 

Jesus emerges not as a slain Passover lamb, but as the apocalyptic lamb of the Book of Revelation and related literature. In rising from death, Jesus does, in fact, conquer the world: the ‘age of life’ conquers the ‘age of Rome’ (Jesus rises from his Roman execution). In the Book of Daniel, ‘resurrection’ has similar social and political implications as an apocalyptic ‘era’ or ‘age’ (see 12.2).[39] Resurrection represents a new era, in which God’s deliverance and liberation rule. The resurrection of Jesus, thus, has powerful metaphorical implications. Upon rising, he tells his disciples, twice, “Peace be with you” (20.19, 21). He breathes into his disciples the Holy Spirit and tells them to be a community of reconciliation, where forgiveness of sins replaces scapegoating violence (20.23).[40] Jesus, Lamb of God, effectively defeats the sinful condition that characterises ‘the world’.

 

Conclusion

The Baptist’s proclamation of Jesus as ‘Lamb of God – who takes away the sin of the world’ has multiple layers and directions of meaning. I have discussed the associations of Passover, suffering servant and apocalyptic lamb, and have attempted (hopefully successfully!) to weave them together into a coherent Christological picture. Through the Passover connotations, Jesus is a new kind of ‘liberator’, who believers partake in by consuming, in a new kind of shared Passover meal, his living flesh and blood. Through doing so, they may enter into a new ‘age of life’, marked by love for one another, mutual servanthood, and care for the hungry, blind and crippled. Jesus ‘takes away the sin of the world’ by providing peace: superficially through the scapegoat mechanism, but ultimately by exposing the violence at the heart of Rome’s ‘peace’, and showing his disciples a new kind of peace. The condition of sin, which pervades life under the Roman empire, is conquered by Christ. He emerges triumphant, in the spirit of the Lamb found in Revelation.


Bibliography

 

Brown, Raymond. The Gospel According to John. Vol 1. New York: Doubleday, 1966.

Carter, Warren. John and Empire: Initial Explorations. New York; London: T&T Clark, 2008.

Hoskins, Paul M. 'Deliverance from Death by the True Passover Lamb: A Significant Aspect of the Fulfillment of the Passover in the Gospel of John'. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 52.2 (2009): 285-299.

Howard-Brook, Wes. Becoming Children of God: John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1994.

Lee, Dorothy. 'Friendship, Love and Abiding in the Gospel of John.' In Transcending Boundaries: Contemporary Readings of the New Testament, ed. R. M. Chennattu and M. L. Coloe. Roma: LAS, 2005. 57-74.

Lee, Dorothy. 'Pachal Imagery in the Gospel of John: A Narrative and Symbolic Reading'. Pacifica 24.February (2011): 13-28.

Rensberger, David. Overcoming the World: Politics and Community in the Gospel of John. London: SPCK, 1988.

Schneiders, Sandra. 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel'. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73 (2011): 1-29.

Senior, Donald. 'The Eloquent Meaning of Jesus' Death in the Gospel of John'. Chicargo Studies 37.April (1998): 37-46.

Williams, James, Ed. The Girard Reader. New York: Crossroad, 1996.

 

 

Biblical text used:

Meeks, W. A. (Ed). The HarperCollins Study Bible. NRSV. New York: HarperCollins Publishing, 1993.

 


[1] Wes Howard-Brook, Becoming Children of God: John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1994), 67.

[2] Sandra Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel', The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73 (2011): 1-29, 5.

[3] Dorothy Lee, 'Pachal Imagery in the Gospel of John: A Narrative and Symbolic Reading', Pacifica 24.February (2011): 13-28, 16.

[4] Ibid. , 15.

[5] Donald Senior, 'The Eloquent Meaning of Jesus' Death in the Gospel of John', Chicargo Studies 37.April (1998): 37-46, 41-2; Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel',  17; Lee, 'Pachal Imagery in the Gospel of John: A Narrative and Symbolic Reading',  45.

[6] Lee, 'Pachal Imagery in the Gospel of John: A Narrative and Symbolic Reading',  24; Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel',  17. Both Lee and Schneider point out the literal fact that hyssop is not strong enough to bear the weight of a soaked sponge, emphasising the symbolic significance of hyssop.

[7] Senior, 'The Eloquent Meaning of Jesus' Death in the Gospel of John',  42; Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel',  25-6; Paul M Hoskins, 'Deliverance from Death by the True Passover Lamb: A Significant Aspect of the Fulfillment of the Passover in the Gospel of John', Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 52.2 (2009): 285-299. Note that the scriptural reference in 19.36 could also hark to Psalm 34.20: Hoskins, 'Deliverance from Death by the True Passover Lamb: A Significant Aspect of the Fulfillment of the Passover in the Gospel of John', 

[8] Howard-Brook, Becoming Children of God: John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship , 142.

[9] Ibid., 143.

[10] Ibid., 143.

[11] The Suffering Servant is also likely a reference to Israel, since ‘servant’ is used to refer to Israel throughout Deuto-Isaiah – see e.g. Isa 41.8-9; 44.1,21; 49.3.

[12] Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel',  17.

[13] Lee, 'Pachal Imagery in the Gospel of John: A Narrative and Symbolic Reading',  17; Howard-Brook, Becoming Children of God: John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship , 67.

[14] Lee, 'Pachal Imagery in the Gospel of John: A Narrative and Symbolic Reading',  18.

[15] Ibid. , 14; Howard-Brook, Becoming Children of God: John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship , 67.

[16] Hoskins, 'Deliverance from Death by the True Passover Lamb: A Significant Aspect of the Fulfillment of the Passover in the Gospel of John',  290.

[17] Ibid. , 289-90.

[18] Ibid. , 291.

[19] Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John. Vol 1 (New York: Doubleday, 1966), 355.

[20] Lee, 'Pachal Imagery in the Gospel of John: A Narrative and Symbolic Reading',  21-2.

[21] Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel',  25.

[22] See e.g. Dorothy Lee, 'Friendship, Love and Abiding in the Gospel of John', in Transcending Boundaries: Contemporary Readings of the New Testament, ed. Chennattu and Coloe (Roma: LAS, 2005).

[23] Howard-Brook, Becoming Children of God: John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship , 143.

[24] Warren Carter, John and Empire: Initial Explorations (New York; London: T&T Clark, 2008), 204-234.

[25] Ibid., 204-208.

[26] Ibid., 208.

[27] Ibid., 209-10.

[28] Ibid., 210.

[29] Ibid., 211.

[30] Brown, The Gospel According to John. Vol 1 , 56.

[31] Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel', 

[32] Ibid. , 14.

[33] See e.g. James Williams, Ed. 'The Girard Reader'. New York: Crossroad, 1996.

[34] Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel',  22.

[35] Ibid. , 23.

[36] David Rensberger, Overcoming the World: Politics and Community in the Gospel of John (London: SPCK, 1988), 92-95.

[37] Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel',  13.

[38] Carter, John and Empire: Initial Explorations , 206.

[39] Howard-Brook, Becoming Children of God: John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship , 26.

[40] Schneiders, 'The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel',  24-5.