SCRIPTURE: John 1:29-42
Last week from the Gospel of Matthew we heard the account of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. This week the Gospel according to John tells us what John the Baptist knows about Jesus. It begins on the next day.
The next day John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” But this does not mean that Jesus is the worthy sacrifice that pays the price of our sin, Lambs were not used as a sacrifice for sin, rather, it draws us back to Exodus and the deliverance and liberation from slavery in Egypt. The blood of
the lamb marked the door post of their homes as a sign for the spirit of death to pass over. This would have been understood by the first hearers of the Gospel. So the ‘Lamb of God’ who brings deliverance and liberation, takes away the sin of the world. Jesus is identified as the mark that alerts the spirit of death to passover us and takes away the sin of the world. Jesus liberates us from slavery to sin and brings the world into a fresh new contact with the presence of God. This brings an end to our alienation with God. We have a new beginning with God as the Israelites had with God being
delivered from slavery and Egypt. John continues his witness of who Jesus is by saying that Jesus is eternal in nature, referring to his Godly nature as alpha and omega. ‘Jesus is after me, ranks ahead of me and is before me all at the same time.’ Then John the B identifies Jesus as the one he was preparing Israel to recognize though his ministry of baptism with water. Turning towards God and believing that the realm of God is at hand creates a mood seeking the champion of God, John admits that he didn’t know who the one who was to come after him was, but when Jesus was baptized and one who sent JB to baptize with water said ‘He whom you see the Spirit descend upon and remain will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ JB concluded, ‘I have seen the Son of God.’ This is a messianic term, a rallying word for the people of God to take heart, God’s rule is at hand. The next day, the day after the day after, JB was standing with two disciples and identifies Jesus as ‘the lamb of God’ again. That was all they needed to hear and they took to following Jesus. Jesus asks them “What are you looking for?” and they answer “Rabbi, where are you staying“ in essence, “You”, Jesus replies “Come and see” and they do,
staying the day with him. That was all Andrew needed. He left to get his brother Simon Peter telling him, “We have found the Messiah” which means ‘anointed one’ When Simon gets there Jesus looks at him and knew who he is, “Simon, son of John, called Cephas or Peter”.
The Lamb of God at Passover is a sign of liberation and deliverance. Jesus as the Lamb of God creates new possibilities of liberation and deliverance from sin. What shape does our liberated lives take? Being taken away from sin what does
our world look like? When we only think of Jesus as a sacrifice that pays the price of our sin then we a find ourselves in a continuous cycle of sin and forgiveness. True but there is more to what Jesus does for us. The liberation from sin that Jesus gives, frees us to live away from keeping an accounting of our sin, to participating in life with God. The deliverance we have is from a place of sin to one of creativity and joy as we live with God. We don’t only see what would make life better, but we have a vision of how God wants us to live. We don’t only have sense of what is right, but we have a whole new concept of how our community could be. There is a NFL football commercial about public service that the players preform. This player brought a clip to show a classroom of how he was behaving after another player got under his skin. He told the class that he didn’t like the way he behaved after that, as the clip showed him angry, hitting things, and vindictive. He said we have to learn how not to let people get under our skin to make better choices and behave better. The class agreed. Pre frontal Cortex living, instead of the primitive amygdala controlling our behavior. We we don’t let people get to us, then we can think about how we are going to respond and make good choices. Our liberation from sin helps us to be patient with the rest of the world that is still seeking the Anointed one. God has been gracious with us, giving us what we don’t deserve with Jesus, we can do the same as we offer to them Grace in Jesus’ name. As God has been gracious with us, we can show them grace. Being in contact with God is not to get God to do what we want. Rather it is about truth that changes us. The more we learn about God, the more we have the opportunity to become more of what God wants us to be. We are delivered from a world of sin to live in a world with God options. The invitation Jesus gives to the disciples is the same we can extend to our neighbors to come and see how we live, that they may be drawn in to see how forgiveness is lived out, to see how grace is lived out, to see how we deal with sin, and how we are called to life with God that continues to shape and form our
lives according to God’s ways of love for God and others. We are delivered from a place of sin to a place of grace in the presence of God.
What John the B has witnessed about Jesus, he concluded that he was the ‘Lamb of God’, the anointed one, the Son of God, ranks higher than he, is eternal, before and after himself. He then tells others what he thinks about Jesus. JB tells what he saw at Jesus Baptism with the Holy Spirit. He talks about his call to ministry and Jesus’ call to ministry. He tells his disciples what he knows about Jesus and they go off to follow Jesus. As they come and see where Jesus is staying they come to know who Jesus is for themselves and they respond by telling others to come and see for themselves. The Lamb of God brings liberation and deliverance and takes away the sin of the world. We have a new relationship with God, free from the fear of sin. Free from keeping an accounting of sin that makes us free to live according to the will of God and participate in what God is doing in our world. We can have the truth of God change us and we can begin to live gracefully into the will, ways and mission of God.