John 1:29-34 ———The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
As John saw Jesus approaching he said to those around him,“Look, there is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
Why the Lamb? The central feature of the Jewish Passover feast was the lamb which was eaten during the Passover meal. It recalled the lamb which the families of the Israelites ate on the eve of their escape from Egypt and whose blood was painted on the doorposts of their houses. When the angel of God came to destroy all the firstborn, it “passed over” the houses of the Israelites, which had been smeared with the lamb’s blood. This became a symbol of liberation and one of the most important celebrations in the Jewish calendar.
For us, however, there is now a new symbol of liberation, a new Lamb. Jesus is both the offerer of the sacrifice and its victim and His death and resurrection inaugurate a New Covenant between God and His people. And it is through the blood of this Lamb that we find salvation and liberation.
John also explains why he was baptising; it was to make Jesus known to the people of Israel. His baptism did not have the power to forgive sin; this would be the prerogative of Jesus.
John says he personally saw the Spirit of God come down on Jesus like a dove and it stayed with him, indicating the enduring relationship between God and his Father. The dove is a symbol of new life, recalling the dove which brought the olive branch back to Noah’s ark and indicated that the Flood was over. At the same time, the One who told John to baptise with water also said that the One on whom the Spirit came down would, in turn, baptize with the Holy Spirit. And John the Baptist concludes:“Now I have seen and given witness that he is the Son of God.”
John the Baptist is introducing us to Jesus saying, “This is the Lamb of God, Jesus.” It is now up to us to put out our hand and say who we are and allow HIM and HIS WORD to shape our thoughts, words and deeds.
THE SON OF GOD BECAME A MAN TO ENABLE MEN TO BECOME SONS OF GOD.