The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Some people really like to see a supernatural sign before they believe anything. Other people find the supernatural a very suspicious thing. What can we say about John’s introduction of Jesus? He certainly seemed to have received a supernatural sign. Somehow God, sending him to baptize, revealed to him that he would see the Holy Spirit come upon the Lamb of God. Somehow, John seems to have seen something that isn’t apparent to others. What was John’s conclusion? This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This report is then written down by someone purporting to be an eyewitness of the words, asserting that the account is reliable. Want supernatural? You’ve got it. Want eyewitness accounts? There you go.
The claim of primary importance in this passage is that Jesus is the one who takes away sin. This is something that is accomplished in the sacrificial system by the death of a lamb. Jesus here is presented as a perfect lamb. What is our attitude toward this Jesus? Do we turn to him as the one who takes our place and dies to take our sin? Do we scoff and go on our own way? Lord, have mercy.
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