John 1:35-39. The Lamb of God

   The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.  When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.  Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

For a second time now, John declares Jesus to be ‘the Lamb of God’. Two of John’s disciples hear it, immediately abandon John, and start following Jesus as their ‘Teacher’. Jesus seems at first a little surprised by this turn of events, but invites Andrew and the other disciple (Philip?) to tag along anyway.

So what does it mean to Andrew and Philip for Jesus to be ‘the Lamb of God’? In the Old Testament lambs were usually associated with the idea of sacrifice and the temple cult. A one year old lamb, without defect, was considered an appropriate sacrifice in many situations. But these sacrificial lambs were provided by sinners seeking a restored relationship with God. When did God ever provide a Lamb?

At God’s direction, as Abraham set out to sacrifice, his young son Isaac asked, “Where’s the lamb?” In Genesis 22:8 Abraham replies, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And so, in the fullness of time (and just in the nick of time!), God provides a ram for the sacrifice.

Whatever Andrew and Philip understood by John’s use of the phrase, “the Lamb of God,” the sum of his testimony prompted them to transfer their allegiance to Jesus.

Lord, grant that all my former allegiances be absolutely transferred to Jesus. May he fill my horizon. May his sacrifice truly stand in my place. Amen.