“The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.'”(John 1:29)
For a good part of my life, I was identified as my older brother’s little sister. Now I’m often referred to as the director’s wife of Champfleuri. Have you ever struggled with being seen as someone’s something or other rather than a person in your own right?
Based on the first chapters of the gospel of John, it seems like John the Baptist most assuredly knew what I am talking about. “Who are you?”, the priests and Levites ask him. (1:19) “What do you say about yourself?” (1:22)
Still today people wonder what right Christians have to do what we do or say what we say, if we’re not “important people”. And perhaps we all sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that it all depends on how great we are.
In pointing to Jesus and referring to him as “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, John demonstrates the power of humility and telling the truth that freed him from fear of his enemies. He is saying: “I am not the Messiah” (1:20), but Jesus is the perfect sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world. “I am not worthy”, but Jesus is the One who would fulfill the symbolism of the Passover Lamb. Just as that lamb’s blood on the doorstep saved the Israelites’ lives, so also Jesus’ blood would bring saving grace and redemption to the world.
Instead of staking his own claim, John the Baptist encouraged his disciples to follow Jesus. He was faithful and obedient to his identity and calling. He would “become less” (3:27-30) so that everyone else could see more of God.
Prayer of Response:
Lord, help me cultivate the humble spirit of John the Baptist. I want to be content to play a supporting role in your redemptive work. May I “become less” so You can be glorified.
Questions to Ponder:
- What can foster the sort of humility we need to let God work through us instead of concentrating on who or what we are?
- What opportunities does God give us simply to point to Jesus?
—Submitted by Gudrun Reeves
Gudrun has been living and working with her austro-texan family in the Christian retreat center, Champfleuri, in the French Alps for the past 20 years. Her passion for building community and for spiritual formation practices has definitely shaped her approach to faith and life. Gudrun is most happy when she has a good book to read or a trip to prepare, but most of all she loves hearing peoples’ stories.
Image: Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) painted by Francisco de Zurbarán ca 1635–1640