Notes on the Liturgy #20 — Agnus Dei

This is part 20 of 22 in the series Notes on the Liturgy

(One of the goals of Brothers of John the Steadfast is to train the Brothers in good practice and theology. This article is one in a series that teaches about the liturgy.

These articles were initially intended to be put into bulletins or read during the service to educate the laity on the different parts of the service. They were therefore purposefully made short.

Notes on the Liturgy #20 — Agnus Dei

The Agnus Dei was introduced to the liturgy of the church by Pope Sergius I about 700A.D.. “Agnus Dei” means “Lamb of God.” It is based on the words of John the Baptizer as he testified that Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:29f.). What a wonderful passage to sing! It fills me with joy simply contemplating these marvelous words.

Christ, the Lamb of God, who was present in the flesh with John the Baptizer almost 2,000 years ago is also present in the flesh with me and all believers. But, how has He come? As a harsh Law giver? No, He comes as a Lamb in self-sacrifice for us! He comes to us in His body and blood. The church by faith recognizes this and so cries out, “Lamb of God have mercy upon us.” Jesus does indeed have mercy on us! That mercy is given into our mouths as we receive the holy elements of the Lord’s Supper.

At this point, these liturgy notes may seem somewhat repetitious. You see, ever since the Preface we have had a singular focus of receiving God’s gifts in the Lord’s Supper. This is the value of the liturgy. It has faithfully pointed us to God’s gifts time and again.


You may find all these by looking at our Regular Column on the Explanation of the Divine Service category or by using the shortcut https://steadfastlutherans.org/liturgy.

These notes were originally written in 2001 by Pastor David Oberdieck and have been edited. Thanks to Pastor Michael Mohr for improvements to this segment.

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