Daily Reading & Meditation

Saturday (January 3): "Behold the Lamb of God!"

Scripture: John 1:29-34

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, 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 before me, for he was before me.' 31 I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel." 32 And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."

Meditation: John calls Jesus the Lamb of God and thus signifies Jesus' mission as the One who redeems us from our sins. The blood of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) delivered the Israelites in Egypt from slavery and death. The Lord Jesus freely offered up his life for us on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 Corinthians 5:7). The blood which he poured out for us on the cross cleanses, heals, and frees us from our slavery to sin, and from the "wages of sin which is death" (Romans 6:23) and the "destruction of both body and soul in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

John points to Jesus' saving mission - to offerup  his life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins
It is significant that John was the son of Zachariah, a priest of Israel who participated in the daily sacrifice of a lamb in the temple for the sins of the people (Exodus 29). John recognized that Jesus was the perfect unblemished lamb offered by the Father in heaven as the one and only sacrifice that could cancel the debt of sin, and free us from death and the destruction of body and soul in hell.

The Holy Spirit reveals who Jesus truly is - the Son of God and Savior of the world
When John says he did not know Jesus (John 1:31,33) he was referring to the hidden reality of Jesus' divinity. But the Holy Spirit in that hour revealed to John Jesus' true nature, such that John bore witness that this is the Son of God. How can we be certain that Jesus is truly the Christ, the Son of the living God? The Holy Spirit makes the Lord Jesus Christ known to us through the gift of faith. God gives us his Spirit as our helper and guide who opens our hearts and minds to receive and comprehend the great mystery and plan of God - to unite all things in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:10).

Do you want to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ? Ask the Lord to pour his Holy Spirit upon you to deepen your faith, hope, and love for God and for the plan he has for your life.

"Lord Jesus Christ, fill me with the power of your Holy Spirit and let me grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth. Let your Spirit be aflame in my heart that I may know and love you more fervently and strive to do your will in all things."

Psalm 98:1,3b-6

1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
3b All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: John points to Jesus' saving mission, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)

"No longer does John need to 'prepare the way,' since the one for whom the preparation was being made is right there before his eyes... But now he who of old was dimly pictured, the very Lamb, the spotless Sacrifice, is led to the slaughter for all, that he might drive away the sin of the world, that he might overturn the destroyer of the earth, that dying for all he might annihilate death, that he might undo the curse that is upon us... For one Lamb died for all (2 Corinthians 5:14), saving the whole flock on earth to God the Father, one for all, that he might subject all to God." (excerpt from th COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 2.1)


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author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.

 
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