Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Frank F. Judd Jr., and Thomas A. Wayment, “Introduction,” in Behold the Lamb of God: An Easter Celebration, ed. Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Frank F. Judd Jr., and Thomas A. Wayment (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2008), vii–viii.
Followers of Jesus Christ since the beginning have referred to their Savior as the Lamb of God. While down by the river Jordan, John the Baptist was baptizing those who desired to follow the Savior. When the Savior approached the Baptist, John declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). After John baptized Jesus, he bore record “that he had baptized the Lamb of God” (1 Nephi 10:10). The next day, when John and two of his disciples saw Jesus, the Baptist again proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36).
Three years later the Savior brought his Twelve Apostles to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. As Jews from all over the Roman Empire made pilgrimage to Herod’s Temple, firstborn male lambs without blemish were offered up as sacrifice, commemorating that God had physically delivered His people from their bondage to Pharaoh (see Exodus 12). During that same Passover, Jesus, the firstborn spirit Son of God and the only mortal to live a perfect life (see D&C 93:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 1:19), prepared Himself to be offered up as a sacrifice in order to spiritually deliver God’s children from their bondage to Satan. Years later, John the Revelator saw in vision the slain Lamb of God who had triumphed over all His enemies (see Revelation 5:12–13; 7:14; 17:14). This volume celebrates the life and sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
The fourth annual BYU Easter Conference was held April 7, 2007, on the campus of Brigham Young University and was a wonderful success. We are especially thankful for Elder F. Enzio Busche, emeritus member of the First Quorum of Seventy, who graciously accepted the invitation to participate and share his witness of the Lamb of God. This Easter Conference was particularly unique because it was held in conjunction with the superb exhibit “Beholding Salvation: Images of Christ” held at BYU’s Museum of Art from November 2006 to June 2007. This volume includes the keynote address by Elder Busche, as well as selected papers by Latter-day Saint scholars from many different disciplines across Brigham Young University campus exploring the life and teachings of the Lamb of God from variety of perspectives, including history, doctrine, art, and archaeology. It is our hope that this volume will assist Latter-day disciples of Christ as they strive to know more fully their Savior, the Lamb of God.
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel
Frank F. Judd Jr.
Thomas A. Wayment