Each of us has various roles in life—within our family of origin and at various points in life. Some roles are temporary and some endure. John the Baptizer knew his role in life. He was the "voice in the desert" who preceded and proclaimed the coming of Israel's Messiah.
John knew and accepted that his important but limited role would end when the One whom he proclaimed arrived. But how would he know for sure who this person was?
John was given specific guidance to identify the Messiah. He would know when he saw the Holy Spirit of God come down and remain on that man.
This required discernment. It would take place as John went about his work of preaching and baptizing. This prompts John's declaration to his followers and others when he saw Jesus the next day after being questioned earlier by Jewish leaders.
John saw Jesus coming toward him the next day and said, “Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘A man who comes after me was before me because he existed before I did.’ I didn’t know who he was. However, I came to baptize with water to show him to the people of Israel.” [vss 29-31]
John said, “I saw the Spirit come down as a dove from heaven and stay on him. I didn’t know who he was. But God, who sent me to baptize with water, had told me, ‘When you see the Spirit come down and stay on someone, you’ll know that person is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
I have seen this and have declared that this is the Son of God.” [vss 32-34]
(John 1:29-34 GW) [Context– John 1]
Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
When did John see Jesus and what does he say about Him?
What are two ways John describes Jesus and what titles does he use to do this?
How is John supposed to know who Jesus is and who tells him this?
How are the two descriptive names connected that John uses to proclaim who Jesus is?
John the apostle uses many figures of speech in his writings—the gospel of John, his three epistles, and the book of Revelation.
Jesus is called—the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This speaks of Jesus' redemptive death on the cross but also reaches back to the Old Testament.
When Moses led Israel out of slavery from Egypt, he established and celebrated the first Feast of Passover (Exodus 12:1-20). This feast, connected to the sacrifices made on the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26-31), was a prophetic illustration of the Lord's death on the cross (Heb 10:1-14).
But John also makes clear the eternal nature of Jesus as the Son of God (John 1:1, 14). Each title and metaphor used for Jesus throughout John's gospel give us a more detailed understanding of who He is.
Taking it to heart...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
Are you familiar with the Old Testament Feast of Passover and the Day of Atonement? If not, read about them here— Exodus 12; Leviticus 23:4-8, 26-31.
Do you see how and why John connects Jesus as the Lamb of God to His being the Son of God? (see John 1:27, 30)
Are you familiar with the story of John baptizing Jesus and seeing the Holy Spirit come and remain on Him? If not, read about it here— Matthew 3:13-17.
Are you able to understand how Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the Son of God? If so, in what ways has this impacted your life?
Meditate On This— Consider the humility and sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God and His authority and nature as the Son of God.
Prayer Focus— As you meditate on the two truths above, ask God to help you understand these vital and important truths and why they are important for all followers of Jesus.