29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son[a] of God.”
Personal Reflection and Discussion
Any good Jews would associate the title “Lamb of God” with the Passover lamb (Exodus 12) and the lambs used in the daily sin offerings sacrifices (see Lev 14:12, 21, 24; Num 6:12). In calling Jesus the Lamb of God, John pointed to Jesus as the substitutionary sacrifice provided by God (see Is 53:7-12; Heb 9:13-14,22).
- Tell about a time when you first realized that a friend or acquaintance of yours was also a Christian? What, if anything, became different in your relationship?
- What are your thoughts and feelings as you reflect upon Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice?
- When did Christ know about the sacrifice he was to endure? (John 1:1)
- What does the dove in these verses share in common with that of the dove in Genesis 8?
- The Greek word for “takes away” (airō – v 29) can also mean “take up”. Jesus took away our sin by taking it “up” upon himself (see 2 Cor 5:21). Which definition do you think is more precise?
- Since John and Jesus were cousins, John probably knew Jesus before this time, but he had not realized until now Jesus was God’s Son, the Messiah. When and how have you recognized Jesus? What difference is it making in your life?
- John the Baptist’s baptized with water, Jesus with the Holy Spirit. Jesus imparted more than forgiveness. Through the Spirit Jesus would indwell His followers and empower them/us to live and teach the gospel. This outpouring of the Spirit came after Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven (see Jn 20:22; Acts 2). All true believers have been baptized by Jesus in the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor 12:3). What does it mean to you and what has it meant for you that Jesus through His Spirit lives in you (Gal 2:20; 2 Pe 1:3-4)?
- John the Baptist testified to the fact that Jesus was indeed “the Son of God” (see 1 Jn 1:1-3) To what can you give personal testimony regarding Jesus?
- What is it about John the Baptist that allows him to stay humble, introducing those closest to Him to someone as better than He? Does pride get in your way when it comes to witnessing, how so? How can we better keep in mind which is necessary to maximize our witness?
- Why would John talk about not being able to even untie Jesus sandals? What else does taken off sandals get mentioned (John 13)? What do you think is the correlation?
Jesus, the reason for my being here is to give witness to You, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. By Your Spirit and indwelling presence increasingly use me to do so. (Mt 4:19; Mk 5:19; Acts 1:8; Ro 10:14-17; 2 Cor 5:18-20; Phil 1:22-25)
Greek Word of the Day
English Word: Takes Away | Transliterated Word: Airo
1. to raise up, elevate, lift up
- to raise from the ground, take up: stones
- to raise upwards, elevate, lift up: the hand
- to draw up: a fish
2. to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to bear
Family Engagement Activity
Baptize the family pet! Just kidding. Take a moment to remember your baptisms as a family. Maybe light the baptismal candles if you have them. If you don’t, go out and wash your car or maybe even a neighbor’s windows or your own windows. WASH SOMETHING, TOGETHER! Get whatever it is you are washing really clean. Teach the family about how God made sure we become SPOTLESS and how our cleaning doesn’t compare to how clean we become through his forgiveness.
Clean something for your kids, whether it’s their room, a bike, a bathroom…and clean it with great detail. Talk about how He not only cleans, but straightens, organizes, empties the trash….no stains or blemishes. If they don’t appreciate it, then wash their mouth out with soap!! Just kidding, again!
You could also do a family foot washing, explaining that John the Baptist is so unworthy to even attempt at untying Jesus’ sandals, let alone wash His feet, because Jesus was and has always been so clean! New! Fresh!
Take the day to remember your baptism. Call up those who were instrumental in your baptism, including mentors, pastors, family, friends, artist of a song you heard, etc. thanking God for their witness. Also, allow for the name of Jesus to be uttered out of your mouth when forgiving someone today.