1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
- The “Lamb of God” designation harkens back to the Old Testament sacrificial system in which a lamb was used as a sin offering for the people (Lev. 5:5-7). Jesus has come to make propitiation for our sins – He will be our sacrifice. I also like the passage with Abraham and Isaac where Abraham was going up to Mt. Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac as a good parallel (Gen. 22:7-8). Mt. Moriah is said to be the location of present day Jerusalem and many have speculated on the possibility of Abraham’s sacrificial site in Gen. 22 as the same place where Christ died. What an amazing thing to meditate on!
- In the second part of the passage we see a potential interpretive difficulty in that we read the Jesus is going to take “away the sin of the world.” This passage isn’t teaching Universalism. When John says that the Lamb will take “away the sin of the world” he is saying that Christ is humanity’s only savior and that He will not discriminate based on Jew or Gentile. Every tribe and nation will hear the world of the Lord before the great and awesome day of His second coming.
- But how can we know that John is talking about the “world” in this way and not teaching universalism? We learn this through the simple principle of interpretation called the Analogy of Faith. The Analogy of Faith (analogia fidei) teaches us that all scripture must be interpreted by scripture (NOTE: the term can also have broader theological implications, but here we mean only the most basic of interpretive principles). One principle of this hermeneutic is that we interpret the less clear portions of scripture by the ones that are more clear in order to decipher the proper meaning and rule out incorrect inferences.
1:30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’
- Even though John the Baptist was born before Jesus, he makes the point that Jesus still existed before he did.
1:31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
- Two important points are being made here by John. First, even though there were cousins, John didn’t know that Jesus was going to be the Messiah. Second, God had specifically sent John to go and baptize in order that people’s hearts would be made ready (as we’ve already spoken about earlier), but also so that Jesus would be revealed as the Messiah.
1:32-33 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  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.’
- It’s significant that God confirmed the ministry of Jesus with a sign and even more significant that He confirmed the ministry with the outpouring of His Spirit upon Jesus. He did the same thing for the disciples in Acts 2:1-6. Note how in Acts 2:5-6 we learn that “men from every nation under heaven” were dwelling in Jerusalem and how the disciples had begun to speak in tongues (that is, in the native languages of these different men) in order to declare Christ to them. This fits perfectly with what was mentioned earlier, that Christ came to save the world.
- This verse is rich with symbolism. The dove (Matt. 3:16) is a symbol of peace and reminds us of the peace that Christ brought into the world. Peace between God and mankind – reconciliation.
1:34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
- John ends the passage by summing up the identity of Jesus: the Son of God. We see this same designation throughout the New Testament, and it’s the designation that affirms His deity and His role as Messiah.
1:35-37 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples,  and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
- This is the transferring of his disciples to Jesus. MacArthur notes that it may not be a formal or official transference at this point in time, but it’s the beginning of John pointing them toward Jesus.
1:38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
- Note the early designation of Jesus as “Rabbi.” The disciples immediately took Him for a teacher of the law.
1:39-41 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).
- In verse 38 they call Him “teacher” but here, as they talk amongst themselves and spread the word about Jesus, they are starting to say in very definite terms, that He is the long awaited Messiah, the Savior they have been waiting for.
1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
- Over the course of most of human history, the name of a person has held varying significance. In the Biblical era, the name of a person held a great deal of meaning, and when God encountered men in the Old Testament He often changed their names to reflect the new kind of life they were going to have as one of His children. I think specifically of Abram having his name changed to Abraham. It’s significant that Christ would often refer to Peter using the old name “Simon” when he had need of rebuke or correction (or when the author was simply identifying a more basic component of Peter’s life – like describing who his mother in law was, or whose home they were staying in etc.). When Peter acted correctly, Jesus would often refer to him by his new nickname – Peter the “rock.”
- MacArthur makes the point that “Peter was exactly like most Christians – both carnal and spiritual. He succumbed to the habits of the flesh sometimes; he functioned in the Spirit other times.”
How do we teach this to our children? If you were to tell your children on the way home today that you learned about how Jesus was and is the Word of God, what would you say?
EXAMPLE: This morning we learned about how the Bible calls Jesus the ‘Lamb of God’ because Jesus was God’s perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind. In the Old Testament, a lamb was used as an offering to God to atone for sin. To “atone” is to make right with someone (in this case God). When the people of the Old Testament offered up their sacrificial lamb, it had to be a perfect lamb with no blemishes. That’s why the Bible calls Jesus the Lamb of God, because Jesus lived a perfect life. He never sinned. What was the sacrifice that Jesus made? He died on the cross for our sins. When He did that, He atoned for our sins, which means we were made right with God. But not everyone was made right with God…who is give this gift? Those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God and confess (verbally speaking what you believe in your heart) Him as Lord (leader) of their lives.