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January 8 | John 1:29-34


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION


John the Baptist Announces Jesus

by Pr. Dave Mann


The Apostle John wrote the 4th gospel in which he shares aspects of the ministry of John the Baptist that are included in none of the other gospels.

 

John the Baptist announces the principal mission of Jesus — to become the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. It must have been an astounding announcement as the crowd was gathered around John to confess their sins and receive assurance of forgiveness in baptism. But then, John directs their attention to an unknown man, Jesus of Nazareth. How were they to believe that this man was going to take away the sin of the world? Did John himself understand what this meant? Or did he simply proclaim what the Holy Spirit told him to say?

 

John the Baptist announces the preeminence of Jesus — A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me. Jesus was younger than his cousin by a few months. Therefore, in one way, he comes after John (Luke 1:36). But because Jesus was the 2nd person of the Trinity before his incarnation, he pre-existed John by all eternity. The Apostle John makes this same point of Jesus’ eternal pre-existence later in his gospel through the words of Jesus in comparison to the patriarch Abraham (John 8:56-58).


John announces that he has come to prepare the way for the Messiah, by declaring that the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel... I testify that this is God’s Chosen One. John is the re-appearance of Elijah who must come before the ministry of the promised Messiah. In the other gospels, John the Baptist is compared to the opening verses of Isaiah 40. In the 4th gospel, allusion is made to the promised coming of Elijah (Malachi 4:5). Later in his ministry, Jesus states clearly that John the Baptist is Elijah (Mark 9:11-13).


Also, in these few short verses, John the Baptist announces that Jesus will usher in the promised, powerful work of the Holy Spirit. “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” The people of Israel were looking for the Messiah to bring the experience of the in-filling of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29). This happened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and is promised to all believers in Jesus.


PRAYER

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for announcing through John the Baptist a fuller understanding of Jesus’ mission here on earth. I pray that you bring these aspects of Jesus' work to reality in my life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.



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