The Third Witness of John the Baptist
The Third Witness of John the Baptist John 1:29-34 The Lamb of God*
The Introduction: God is holy with an absolute holiness that knows no degrees, and this he cannot impart to his creatures. But there is a relative and contingent holiness which he shares with and with redeemed men on earth as their preparation for heaven. This holiness God can and does impart to his children. He shares it with them by imputation and by impartation, and because he has made it available to them through the blood of the Lamb.
Verse 29 – 30: 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'
This incident must have been immediately after the temptation. The Baptist identifies Christ by implication, not by name. “On the third day” in 2:1) when Jesus’ first disciples were called and came to faith. John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God (cf. 1:36; 1 Peter 1:19).
I. THE REDEEMER IS IDENTIFIED BY HIS WORK. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” This title is taken from Isaiah 53, which the Jewish commentators themselves originally applied to the Messiah.
II - THE REDEEMER IS CLEARLY IDENTIFIED IN HIS PERSON. “This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is become before me: for he was before me.”
1 - John’s fame was to be superseded by that of Jesus, whose priority stems from His preexistence: He was before me.
2 - But why did John say, I myself did not know Him? Though John and Jesus were related, as Mary and Elizabeth were relatives (Luke 1:36), nothing is known of any contacts between them in their years of childhood and adolescence. John did not know that Jesus was the coming One until He was revealed by the Father.
III - Lamb of God (John 1:29–34) In one sense, the message of the Bible can be summed up in this title. The question in the Old Testament is, “Where is the lamb?” (Gen. 22:7) In the four Gospels, the emphasis is “Behold the Lamb of God!” Here He is! After you have trusted Him, you sing with the heavenly choir, “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Rev. 5:12)
The people of Israel were familiar with lambs for the sacrifices. Those lambs were brought by men to men, but here is God’s Lamb, given by God to men! Those lambs could not take away sin, but the Lamb of God can take away sin. Those lambs were for Israel alone, but this Lamb would shed His blood for the whole world!
1 - Down through the centuries "the Lamb of God" has been one of the most cherished symbols of Jesus Christ held by believers.
2 - The idea is that the Lamb belonged to God; that is, God gave, supplied, and provided the Lamb for sacrifice. (Genesis 22:8 where God provided the lamb for Abraham as a substitute for Isaac.)
This glorious truth speaks volumes on...• the unbelievable love of God for man (John 3:16; Romans 5:1).
• the great sacrifice and humiliation Christ underwent for man (Phil. 2:6-8; 1 Peter 2:24).
• the forgiveness of sins and salvation which came from God's grace and not from man's resources and works (Ephes. 2:8-9; Titus 2:4-7).• the deity of Christ, His being of God
IV - The "Lamb of God" takes away the sin of the world.
1- The phrase "takes away" (airōn) means to lift away, to carry off. It means to bear in behalf of one, as one's substitute. Jesus Christ was the sacrificial Lamb of God who bore our sins. He lifted our sins off of us and bore and carried them away.
2-John did not know who the Messiah would be, only that the Messiah was to come. Note that John knew Jesus personally; they were cousins (Luke 1:36). However, John did not know that his cousin, Jesus, was to be the Messiah. Note another fact: how faithful John was! He was a man of strong faith. He had never seen the Messiah, yet he went about his mission of preaching and baptizing. He acted on God's Word and on God's Word alone, believing that the Messiah would come.
Verse 32 - 33." 32 And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
V - The dove was a sacred bird to the Jews. It was a symbol of peace and gentleness, of purity and innocence; but even more significant, the dove was often identified with the Spirit of God.
In the Old Testament the Spirit of God came upon men only on special occasions. He never came and remained upon men. John went out of his way to point out that the Spirit's descent upon Christ was unique:
1 - He abode (John 1:32) and He remained upon Christ (John 1:33). The Holy Spirit entered the life of Christ once-for-all, permanently and powerfully, in His full manifestation and unlimited power.
Verse 34: 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God." This is the "record," the strong witness of John.
The Conclusion: John's witness about Jesus Christ is one of the greatest witnesses ever given by man. : In the Book of John, The manifestation of Christ's divinity to the world is seen in a six-fold testimony. That of John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit, the disciples, Christ's mighty works, the Father, and the Scriptures, John was unmistakable in His proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18-19).
1. Christ is the Lamb of God (v.29). 2. Christ is the Preeminent One (v.30-31). 3. Christ is the Messiah, the One upon whom the Spirit of God remained (v.32-33).4. Christ is the Son of God (v.34).
The Christian faith engages the profoundest problems the human mind can entertain and solves them completely and simply by pointing to the Lamb of God. A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)