32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
I don't know about you, but after studying these verses, I have a much greater admiration and respect for John the Baptist than I did before! I am amazed at his faith, his courage, his testimony and his humility -- and I'm convicted that I am not doing as good a job in my own life. But I know that with Christ's help, I can be all that He desires me to be, so I'm going to keep studying!
Let's dive right into these verses!
God had been preparing Israel for this moment for hundreds of years. John has confessed to the throngs and to the questioners sent by the Jewish leaders, that Jesus is Lord, that He is far superior to John himself, and now he will give his triumphant finish -- Behold the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world.
What Jesus had to do, in order to take away the sin of the world, required that He be more than a man. He was the Lord God of Isaiah 40, and He was so great that John the Baptist wasn't worthy to even untie His sandals; and He was before John both in time (John 1:1) and in rank.
Wouldn't you love to have been there? It gives me a chill down my back just to imagine it!
Jesus was able to be the Lamb of God because He was the God-man. The Word became flesh for this reason: to take away the sin of the world.
In his first letter, John said, "You know that He appeared to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin." (I John 3:5) He said this because under the law, the lambs that were offered in sacrifice to take away sin were spotless, without any blemish.
If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish and lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. . . . And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:32–35)But as we know, the blood of animals could not really take away sin (see Hebrews 10:4). The law was pointing forward to what would happen someday, in a final sacrifice for sin. And John is saying, "Look! It's happening now, in front of your eyes! God has sent a sinless lamb, to take away sin, once and for all!"
Jesus was holy. He was without sin: no original sin, and no sin in His life. He was God, our holy God, and He was the Lamb who would take away our sins.
John called Him the Lamb, because He came to die. That shocks our sensibilities, doesn't it? It makes us uncomfortable. We don't like to look at that fact for very long. But it is real. It is needful. We must look at it.
He came to die for the Jews, but also for people scattered all over the world. John said this:
“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2)Propitiation is just a multi-syllable word that means His death removes the wrath of God. He does it for Jews and for Gentiles:
“By your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe . . . .” (Revelation 5:9).
Let's skip forward to John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him”
So, John didn't mean that every person in the world is saved -- he means that every person in the world, whether a Jew or a Gentile, will be saved if they believe in Jesus and follow Him. If they believe, then their sin is taken away by the Lamb; God's wrath has been removed.
No one has been excluded.
But we can't do it ourselves. We can't clean up our lives first. The one way to do it is in believing on Jesus as the wonderful Lamb of God.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12
All praise to the Lamb!