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Pointing The Way

April 26, 2009

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. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:29-36 NIV)

There goes John again, pointing the way to Christ. While John is baptizing he sees Jesus and proclaims “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” “Lamb of God” is a curious phrase for John to use to describe Jesus. It is only used here and in verse 36. Did john have in mind the Passover Lamb, or perhaps the Lamb that God would provide to spare Abraham’s son? Maybe he had in mind the Lamb of Isaiah 53 who was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities or maybe the worthy Lamb of Revelation five sitting in the middle of the throne that looked as if he was slain. Clearly Jesus was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world!

John knew it was Jesus because God told him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit come down from heaven and remain was Jesus. John saw this happen at the Baptism of Jesus after which God said from heaven “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” John was physically older than Jesus, but John said “a man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me”. As we remember back to John 1:1 we think of Jesus as the eternal Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus may have been physically younger, but he certainly was before John and surpassed John in every way (as John was always quick to point out).

John opens this passage pointing to Jesus the Lamb of God and closes it with Jesus the Son of God. Let’s remember Jesus, the Son of God and the Lamb who takes away our sins.

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