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John’s Gospel Post 12: Lamb

August 26, 2013

John 1:29 – 34

Let’s get back to John’s story.

After the conversation with the Pharisees, we move up another gear. Finally the identity of the Word is revealed. The next day.

John sees Jesus.

If we think John has been talking in riddles and being rather mysterious, now he takes the blind fold off. Look!

People often think that Jesus’ ministry was pretty secretive, but here it seems very out in the open. John has been preparing people, making straight paths for The Lord.

And now he points and says to his followers “here he is!”

But he doesn’t introduce Jesus as the Word or the Light. He gives him a new name – Lamb of God.

There is lot that could be said about this new name. I will not go the whole hog (sorry for the mixed animal metaphor!) as what I have been trying to do is unfold the story without the benefit of hindsight.

But what would John’s listeners have associated with lamb? A cute fluffy little animal? Spring days?

For years John’s listeners had lived with a system of animal sacrifices – most often using a lamb. The sacrifice was required to obtain God’s forgiveness. There was no other way to please God.

Why was John baptising? Not to raise his own profile but to reveal Jesus.

So what is John saying? People’s expectations would have been raised. Is this new stranger going to be the one who brings us forgiveness? How will he do it? What sacrifice will be needed? How can one man take away the sin of the whole world?

It perhaps seems strange that John keeps saying “I did not know him”. We know nothing about how close the cousins might have been. Had they ever even met? Or did John know him as “my cousin Jesus” but only now realised that he was the Lamb of God. The promised one.

Whichever way it worked we know he was waiting, and God had promised him a sign. John saw the Spirit come down from heaven in the form of a dove. The other gospels tell us that this was when John baptised Jesus!

That is extraordinary itself, that the Word, the one who is God, was baptised. While everyone else who was baptised had to repent, this one had nothing to repent over. And yet he humbled himself to be baptised by John.

This, says John, is God’s chosen one. The people took note. This man had to be followed. Would be somehow be big news? Watch this space.


From → Christianity

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