The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
We are always hearing and seeing things. And of those things we see and hear, only certain things make an impression on us. And of those things that make an impression on us, only some of those impressions last and make a difference. And that’s what this verse gets me thinking about today.
Here is John, specially sent and prepared by God to prepare the way for You, Jesus. And in his preparing the people he sees You coming. And he knew this because the Holy Spirit told him. Even though You were cousins, he didn’t know who You were until this moment when the Holy Spirit revealed You to him. And so he announces You to the world, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” What a statement! And it’s more than a precious truth. Our whole being, our whole eternity is dependent on the truth and reality of the meaning behind those words.
And I have to stop and think about John for a while. Because here he was, the first one to identify You as our Savior, as the Lamb of God, the One who would wash our sins and redeem us, and yet, when push comes to shove as he is imprisoned for his stand on righteousness, he doesn’t seem to be seeing things as clearly. So here, this man who was the first to see You for who You are, is struggling with his imprisonment and maybe with who he thought you should be and what you should be doing, and he sends a message to You saying, “Are You the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Ouch! That stings. It’s like he’s saying, “I thought You were the Lamb of God but maybe I wasn’t looking right and now I need to know if that was who I really saw?” But I’m so grateful for Your patient, loving response, “Go and tell John what you hear and see…”
It’s so easy to get clouded by the things in our life that happen that we don’t understand, especially when we are in the midst of a difficult situation. Often, our remedy seems so much different than the Lord’s and so we just start thinking that what we believed is maybe faulty. But You remind us to stick with what You have already shown us to be true and to lean on what we have already heard from You. So when I don’t understand, I just have to lean on the You I have already come to know. And I have to wait and trust, no matter how hard. Because after the waiting and the trusting, You will show Yourself again. And You show Yourself through the waiting and trusting.
And the fact is, You never left, You never stopped doing what You were already doing. John and I just lost focus because we were so wrapped up in our own needs. You always were and still are the one to come. The problem is that sometimes, in our own weakness and pain, we stopped looking at you and started looking at ourselves. And that’s when I need You to remind me to look at You again and to listen to You again.
You were still being Jesus. Even while John was in prison, even while I’m floundering in not knowing what my purpose is right now or where to walk next, the blind are receiving their sight, the lame are walking, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are having the good news preached to them. You never cease to be God. And even when I don’t see the grand works happening in my life, You are still my Savior. You never forget us. Our problem is that we forget You too easily.
But I have a perspective that John didn’t have yet. John didn’t know the suffering, or at least he didn’t understand, the suffering that You would choose to experience for him and for me. I know. And knowing that helps me to understand my own suffering better because why should the servant be treated better than the master? And it reminds me that You know and You understand. I hope that John understood that. I suppose he was feeling as though his work was in vain. If only he knew about the cross. Well, now he knows. And what a glorious knowing!
So, I guess my whole point is, when You show us something or we hear something from You, what do we do with it? Do we just think it a wonderful thought and tuck it away somewhere? Or do we take this thing You’ve given that has made an impression and make it real by acting upon it? There were so many people in the Bible that heard and saw and walked away totally unaffected. There are so many people today who hear and see and walk away totally unaffected. I don’t know where it’s being tucked away, but in the tucking it’s being lost. How sad is that?
Lord, I want You to continue to allow me to see and hear more of You. I want to continually see and hear more of what You want to show me about You, about me, about those around me and how to love them and touch them like You. And no matter what life circumstance I am in the middle of, I want to keep my focus on You. Keep me from focussing on myself. Remind me over and over again of everything You have shown me, of everything that I have heard from You. Give me eyes that continually receive light from You. Give me ears that continually hear from You. I am so grateful that Your Word shares all these true stories about real people, people who also had struggles in their hearts and lives just like me. It’s not about perfect people but about a perfect Savior who is in the continual process of perfecting, completing His people in Himself. The good news, well, part of it, is that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) But there is growth and understanding and seeing and hearing. Thank You, Lord, that You love the real me enough to invest in me and that I can always be real before You.