The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” – John 1:29-34
Today’s passage is a continuation of the Baptizing with water that was the subject of yesterday’s post. John sees “the lamb of God” Jesus approaching and lays out the Gospel in one sentence “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” This one statement bends time back to Abraham and his son Issac on a mountain top (Genesis 22), “He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”
Of course we know God showed up in powerful way for Abraham saying “Here I am.” He (God) said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” God provides a replacement sacrifice and all is well for Abraham. God must have been able to foresee the time and place described in this passage as John announces the arrival of another replacement “lamb” to take away the sins of the world.
John had been demonstrating his fear and faith by baptizing along the Jordan, waiting for the lamb that God had promised. John reveals the reason he is baptizing with water in the Jordan river. He says “I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel”. This is an interesting way to present the arrival of Jesus, who in many ways was a champion for everyone, not just Israel. I think it is interesting that John makes it clear that the arrival of the promised Messiah, the chosen one, is in the form of a lamb rather than a lion. I think most of the religious leaders were looking for a lion to take on Rome.
John admits that he did not have any divine knowledge before Jesus’ arrival at the Jordan. God revealed Jesus’ role as Messiah and chosen one to the world at the same time it was revealed to John. The dove descended on Jesus and that was the sign that John was looking for to know who the chosen one was to be.
The take home message for me here is that we should be looking for and anticipating the arrival of the lamb in our lives just as diligently as John. We may not be treated to God’s arrival in such a dramatic and tangible way, but in my experience God does show up when we least expect it and in equally amazing ways if we have the eyes to see it.
Prayer: God help us to keep a sharp lookout for Your arrival in our lives each day so that we do not miss something You are doing.