16 January 2011

John 1:29-42

"The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walked by, he exclaimed, 'Look, here is the Lamb of God!' The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, 'What are you looking for?' They said to him, 'Rabbi [which translated means Teacher], where are you staying?' He said to them, 'Come and see.' They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day." (vv. 35-39)


This Sunday in many denominations of the Christian Church we think about the call of Jesus to ordinary people he met to come and follow him. Jesus invited them to join him as companions as he travelled around the villages teaching and healing the sick. The John mentioned in this passage is known as John the Baptist andthe Bible tells us he had a very distinctive lifestyle, wearing simple clothes, living in the desert, and dining on locusts and wild honey. He preached and taught - calling people to give up their selfish ways and return to God and God's ways. He then baptized people in the river Jordan as a sign of their new life, new purity and their being washed clean. He also tells people that he washes them with water but that after him will come someone greater - someone who won't wash them with water but rather wash them in God's Spirit, God's being, God's essence.

In this passage John sees Jesus walking by and identifies him as "the Lamb of God". For John to call Jesus the precious Lamb of God in a culture when sheep and goats are prized and valued might mean that Jesus is God's beloved. But it might also mean that "the Lamb" will be an offering or sacrifice. 

The consequence of this encounter is that the two disciples, or followers of John, leave him and follow Jesus instead. In one sense John points them away from himself to Jesus.

Jesus invites the two followers to come and see where he is staying. This seems an intimate thing to do.

To Ponder

What might it mean to be described as 'God's beloved'?

Who do we think are those whom God loves and sees as his beloved?

What might we do to point others to God?

Bible notes author

Revd Helen Cameron

Helen Cameron is a Methodist presbyter and Chair of the Northampton District. Prior to this she was the Assistant Secretary of the Conference and Director of Methodist Formation at the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham.