The Lamb of God: Devotional Commentary for February 14-20
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Our last two devotional meditations were focused on Jesus' identity as portrayed by the first chapter of the letter to the Hebrews. There we learned that Jesus Christ is supreme and preeminent in all that Who He is. Here in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John, we learn about the deity of Jesus Christ and the Purpose for which He came to earth.
Following his prologue and a few words on the inquiry of the Pharisees about Jesus, John outlines the testimony of John the Baptizer concerning our Lord, the eternal Word Who was clothed in flesh and became man. Perhaps after His baptism or His encounter with the tempter, John saw Jesus coming toward him and immediately testified about Jesus to those who were around him.
John publicly declared that this man Jesus walking toward him is the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sin of the world. This was more than mentioning an identifying attribute. John actually disclosed the grand Purpose for which Jesus came to earth. He was born to be sacrificed as the Lamb of God to pay the penalty for sin.
1:30 'This is He of whom I said, "After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.'
Having been sent as a heralding witness for Christ, John the Baptizer was persistently testifying to the Pharisees about Jesus' preeminence. In his answer to the Pharisees regarding his own identity, John the Baptizer affirmed that he was neither the Christ nor the prophet they were looking for. Rather, Jesus is not only the Lamb of God, but also the Son of God in Whom the Father is well pleased. He is eternal and highly favored by His Father. So John affirmed to those who came to him to inquire about Jesus, that Jesus is more preferred than him because He preexisted him.
31I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."
32And John bore witness, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
33I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, "Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
34And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."
At first glance, it seems that John did not recognize Jesus as the One Whose coming he was heralding. However, he was aware that the promised Messiah must be revealed to Israel and, therefore, he came baptizing with water preparing the heart of the people for the coming Lord. John was fully aware that his ministry was the harbinger of someone greater coming after him.
Even though Jesus and John were distant cousins, John did not know Jesus' true identity until it was revealed to him by the Spirit of God. But once he received insight from the Holy Spirit, he publicly identified Jesus by disclosing the grand purpose for which He was sent to earth by His Father. John declared what he knew about Jesus Christ and proceeded to prepare the people by preaching repentance and signifying the same by baptizing penitents with water.
God revealed to John that the individual upon Whom His "Spirit descends and remains is the One Whom He sent to be the Lamb Who would be offered as the Sacrifice to atone for sin. As soon as he observed the Spirit descend upon Jesus in the form of a dove when He came out of the Jordan River following His baptism, John recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God about Whom God had already told him. He knew he just baptized the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sin of the world. So John, the herald of Jesus' coming; baptized Jesus, observed the Spirit of God rest upon Him, and publicly testified that Jesus is the Messiah Who came to seek and save the lost.
As soon as Jesus came out of the water, the heavens opened. The Spirit of God descended upon Jesus while John was watching and the Lord God His Father confirmed that Jesus is His beloved Son in Whom He is well pleased. And John was there in person, witnessing the revelation of God's redemption and the fulfillment of divine Promise. Jesus Christ: the Son of God, the Lamb of God.
Many years have passed since John's testimony was publicly declared to a small crowd on the banks of the Jordan River, yet people still challenge Christians by demanding more evidence to validate that the historical Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Because these events are told to us through a gospel that is now two thousand years old, the natural world ridicules our faith and our claim as obsolete, unreliable, and irrelevant. Truthfully, we cannot satisfy with our own wisdom the dark curiosities of the unbelieving world.
Our acceptance of this mystery proclaimed by John the Baptizer is in itself a gift from the Holy Spirit—the same Spirit Who opened John's eyes so that he could recognize the person of Whom he prophesied. As it was revealed to John the baptizer, so it is affirmed to us in our revived conscience that Jesus is truly our Savior Who came to save us.
As Paul puts it:
1Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
2But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
5For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake.
6For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
So we know and understand by revelation and spiritual enlightenment and accept by faith that Jesus Christ is not only our Lord and Savior, but also the Lamb of God Who nailed our sins to the Cross with His body. Jesus Christ: the Son of God, the Lamb of God.