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Weekly Bible Study
“John 1:29-31”
by Hugh Davidson   
August 26th, 2007

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, after me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for He was before me. And I knew him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.”

When I was in college I had to take an English course and it included the study of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Since I had never read any Shakespeare before I was reluctant to even take the course but it was compulsory. As I got into the book I not only enjoyed it but found there were several people and situations that illustrate scriptural truths. For instance, there was one man in the play who only had a very tiny part. He was simply called the second guard and his only appearance was during one of the acts he stepped out from behind a curtain and said, “Lo, the king comes.” Then he would step back behind the curtain and his job was finished. Not a bad job if you can get it.

Having such a small part might tempt one to either underplay or overplay the part. He can either act like he’s bored or get overly excited and try to impress the audience and even cause the main actors to shrink in the background. So, obviously the part didn’t call for a great actor, just for someone with a bit of common sense.

And to a degree, this describes John the Baptist. He neither underplays nor overplays his part. He neither acts like he has no right to exist and neither does he give the impression that the role he plays can make or break the plan of God. And so, we see him ministering in the obscurity of the desert where he ate locusts and wild honey and wore rough camel hair clothing. And his task was to prepare people to receive their messiah and then exit by way of Herod’s dungeon. His introduction was exact and to the point.

And in this section of scripture we see John the Baptist’s introduction of Jesus. He describes both who Jesus is and why He came and he begins by saying, “Behold” and it’s like saying watch this or look over there. It’s a term that’s used to get your attention because John is about to point out something that no one has ever seen before. And what John does is point out not only the person of Jesus but why He came when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”

It’s interesting to see that although he’s called John the Baptist and he spends his days baptizing all who come to him, he doesn’t point to baptism as a means of salvation but he’s pointing to Jesus. You see, baptism demonstrates that we have already been saved and now we want to demonstrate what happened. When we go under the water we are illustrating how we have died to our sins and when we’re brought back up it speaks of our identification with His resurrection.

As John understood only too well, baptism was the outward sign of an inward reality. It’s our way of demonstrating to a lost world what’s taken place in our hearts. After all, water doesn’t wash away our sin but as the writer of the book of Hebrews said, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” There needed to be a blood sacrifice for sin and then there needed to be evidence that we’ve received or applied it and that’s baptism. But listen, baptism by itself is meaningless. If you go under the water unsaved, you’ll be just as unsaved when you come back up. The water doesn’t save you, it just demonstrates that you’ve already been saved.

It seems like a strange way to refer to someone as a Lamb of God but we have to realize it was the Passover season and people would be driving flocks of lambs to Jerusalem in preparation for the feast. Back in the book of Genesis when Abraham was about to offer his son Isaac the angel of the Lord stopped him and provided a ram to offer instead. Abraham offered the ram but God still had a lamb in mind. Then during the first Passover God had instructed the people to kill a lamb and place it’s blood on the doorposts of their home and then the angel of death would pass over their homes. And then as an act of atonement the priests would offer a lamb in the morning and another one in the evening on behalf of the nation. So, the progression went from an individual offering to that of a family offering and then to a national offering. And each time the blood symbolizes a substitution for sin and each time the process has to be repeated but here John tells us that this is the lamb of God. In other words, this is God’s sacrifice and only He can actually pay the penalty for sin.

There was a strange scene in the San Diego superior court. Two men were on trial for armed robbery and as an eye witness took the stand the prosecutor got up and began his questioning. First he asked the eyewitness, "Were you at the scene of the robbery?" "Yes," answered the witness. "Did you see a vehicle leave at a high rate of speed?" "Yes, I did" was the reply. "Did you observe the occupants?" asked the prosecutor. "Yes," the witness said. Then the prosecutor in a booming voice said, "Are the two men in this courtroom today?" And at this point the defendants sealed their fate because they both raised their hand.

We know that’s dumb way to respond in a court of law but the best that any of us can do is to tell God were guilty of sin and receive His forgiveness based on Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary. Have you done that yet?

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