Following Jesus • 34 / John the Baptist’s finest hour

Read This: John 1:29-34

When someone is in the spotlight, take note of what they say. Spotlights reveal the heart.

In our previous passage, John the Baptist is in the spotlight. All the people, from regular citizens to Roman soldiers, are listening to him. Even the nation’s leaders are there, trying to learn what all the fuss is about. “Who are you?” they demand.

John’s answer should have captured their attention. Isaiah the prophet wrote about me. I am the “messenger” God sent to announce the coming of the Messiah. All the Jewish people were waiting for their Messiah. He was first on everyone’s “most wanted” list.

And then John did something even more startling. He identified the Messiah! Pointing to Jesus, he said, “That’s Him! He is your Messiah!”

John continued by calling Jesus, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” This statement highlighted Jesus’ spiritual mission by connecting Him to the Old Testament teachings on deliverance from bondage (the Passover) and cleansing from sin (the temple sacrifices). John even quoted from Isaiah’s prophecy that the Messiah would become the sacrifice for everyone’s sin, not just the sin of the Jewish people.

It would have been natural for the crowds to wonder how John knew Jesus was the One, so John explained how God revealed it to him. God had given him a sign. He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him. This wording connected the miraculous circumstances of Jesus’ baptism to Isaiah’s prophecies about the Holy Spirit resting upon the Messiah.

John’s testimony not only identified who the Messiah was, but what He was (as declared by God Himself at Jesus’ baptism). He was the only One who could ever be qualified to be the Messiah. The only One who could do what the Messiah came to do — deliver the world from sin. Because only God can do that.

And Jesus is God.