January 17, 1999

Human Relations Day

John 1:29-42

The next day [after priests and temple helpers asked John who he was], John saw Jesus coming toward him and said:
     Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I told you about when I said, "Someone else will come. He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born." I didn't know who he was. But I came to baptize you with water, so that everyone in Israel would see him.
     I was there and saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven. And the Spirit stayed on him. Before this I didn't know who he was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water had told me, "You will see the Spirit come down and stay on someone. Then you will know that he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit." I saw this happen, and I tell you that he is the Son of God.
     The next day, John was there again, and two of his followers were with him. When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, "Here is the Lamb of God!" John's two followers heard him, and they went with Jesus.
     When Jesus turned as saw them, he asked, "What do you want?"
     They answered, "Rabbi, where do you live? The Hebrew word "Rabbi" means "Teacher."
     Jesus replied, "Come and see!" It was already about four o'clock in the afternoon when they went with him and saw where he lived. So they stayed on for the rest of the day.
     One of the two men who had heard John and had gone with Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and tell him, "We have found the Messiah!" The Hebrew word "Messiah" means the same as the Greek word "Christ."
     Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him, he said, "Simon son of John, you will be called Cephas." This name can be translated as "Peter."


1. Day 1 (vss 19-28) John claimed his value and recognized his limits. This is an admirable position to be in and one that challenges each of us to do the same. What do you claim is your purpose here? Are you able to keep a weather-eye open for changes in the wind? This latter is perhaps the most difficult since our positive claims can become quite seductive and become the measuring rod rather than seeing where our purpose fits into a multitude of purposes.

2. Day 2 (vss 29-34) John has been able to point out sin, the need for baptism with water -- the sending of sins away on the scapegoat. There was still the need for sins to be taken away -- the sacrifice of a lamb. There are active and passive, giving and receiving, motifs here that energize a holy gyre -- an ever-widening upward spiral. The seed of creation gyres to the flower of creation. It is met with the descent of the dove of peace and promised land. Quite a moment.

3. Day 3 (vss 35-40) The moment of new creation needs to be lived out. Where does God live today? Where does Jesus abide today? Where does the Holy Spirit hang out today? To begin to answer any of those questions is to catch a glimpse of the venue of one's arena of discipleship. Where do you see Jesus living? If you are not also there, what is keeping you from doing so?
     Who are you telling about your experience with the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? Who takes away your sin? To begin to know yourself and all as forgiven is to enter the world of holiness.

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