Sunday

“The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk 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.’” (vv. 35-39a)

John 1:29-42 Sunday 19 January 2014


Background

Twice in today's passage, John the Baptist refers to Jesus asthe Lamb of God (verses 29, 35).

On the first occasion (verse 29) he declares, "Here is the Lambof God who takes away the sin of the world!" You may have sung orheard these words sung (in an older translation) as well as spokenfor they are used in the opening chorus of the second part of Handel's Messiah. How are we to understand thisdeclaration? Various suggestions have been made. Some point toIsaiah 53 in which God's suffering servant is said to be 'like alamb that is led to the slaughter' (Isaiah53:7); he "shall make many righteous, and he shall bear theiriniquities" (Isaiah 53:11). Others point out that later inJohn's Gospel, there is a strong emphasis on how the crucifixionrelates to the Passover. For example, Jesus is brought out byPilate when the killing of the Passover lambs would begin: "it wasthe day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon" (John19:14). The point is also made that, although the soldiersbroke the legs of those who were crucified with Jesus, they did notbreak his legs (John 19:36). This is significant because Exodus 12:46 andNumbers 9:12 record the command that none ofthe bones of the Passover lamb shall be broken. One of theweaknesses of this second suggestion is that the blood of thePassover lamb is used to protect the people rather than take awaysin (Exodus 12:7, 13). Perhaps these two suggestionsshould be combined.

The second occasion Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God twoof John's disciples hear him and then follow Jesus. They respondpositively both to John's witness and to the invitation of Jesus to'come and see' where he is staying. Andrew, however, cannot wait totell his brother what has happened; he, too, becomes a witness toJesus and tells Simon Peter, "We have found the Messiah" (v.41).


To Ponder

  • What images, titles, and stories have you found helpful in yourgrowing understanding of Jesus and what he has done, is doing, andpromises to do?
  • Do some of those images, titles, and stories prove moreeffective than others when you bear witness to Jesus? Which one?And why?
  • How do you respond to what Andrew did?
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