The Lamb of God

(According to John, this is how the first disciples were called.)

John was standing with his disciples the next day. He said to them “Behold the Lamb of God!” when he saw Jesus pass by. The two disciples went to follow Jesus after they heard this.

Jesus turned to look at them and asked “What do you seek?” They said “Teacher, where are you staying?”

He replied “Come and see.” He took them to where he was staying and they remained with him that day. This was around ten a.m.

Simon Peter’s brother Andrew was one of the two disciples who left John to follow Jesus. He first went to find his brother and said “We have discovered the Anointed One!” and then he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus saw him and said “You are Simon, John’s son, but from now on you will be called Cephas” (meaning “Rock”)

JN 1:35-42

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Jesus and John the Baptist

Jesus traveled out to the Judean countryside with his disciples. They stayed for a while there and baptized people.

John had not been imprisoned by this point. He was baptizing in Aenon, near Salim because there was a lot of water there.

Then John’s disciples and the Jews began to argue about the ritual of purification. They told John “Teacher, the one who you said was the Messiah, who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, is baptizing too, and everyone is going to him.”

John answered, “Nothing can be received unless God gives it to you. You know that I said I am not the Messiah, but that I’ve been sent to prepare the way for him. The groom has the bride, but the groom’s friend simply stands by and waits on him, celebrating when he hears him. My joy is complete. He must increase in greatness, but I must become lesser.”

JN 3:22-30

John’s commentary after the baptism

John saw Jesus walking towards him the very next day and said “Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I was telling you about when I said ‘A man who is far greater than I am is on his way, and he existed long before me!’ I didn’t know this man was him when I said it, but I have been baptizing with water so that the nation of Israel might take notice of him.”

“I saw the Holy Spirit come down from heaven looking like a dove. The Holy Spirit rested on this man. At the time God sent me to baptize, He told me ‘When you see the Holy Spirit descending and resting on someone, that is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. That is the One you are looking for.’ I have seen it with my own eyes and I testify that he is the Son of God!”

JN 1:29-34

The Baptism of Jesus

Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee to be baptized by John at the Jordan at the same time everyone else did. John protested, saying “I should be baptized by you, yet you want me to baptize you?” Jesus said “It must be done the proper and legal way.” So then John baptized Jesus.

Jesus was praying the moment he came up out of the water after being baptized and immediately the heavens opened. The Holy Spirit of God descended upon him, looking like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, saying “You are my beloved Son and I am very pleased with you!”

MT 3:13-17, MK 1:9-11, LK 3:21-22

The beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist

God sent John to serve as a witness to testify about the light that is Christ, so that everyone could believe through that light. John himself was not the light, but he came to tell others about it. The true light, who gives enlightenment to everyone, was about to be revealed to the world. Christ was in the world and the world was created through Christ, yet the world did not recognize him. He came to those he was called to and yet they did not welcome him. But to those who did welcome him, he gave them the honor of being the children of God. Those who believed in Christ were born out of the will of God and not by way of genealogy or human desire.

The word of God that is Christ took on human form and lived among us. We saw his glory as the only begotten Son of the heavenly Father, and that glory was full of grace and truth.

John testified about him by telling people “This is the One I was talking about when I said ‘There is someone who is coming after me, who is greater than I am because he existed before me.’ Indeed we have all received blessing upon blessing from him, because even though the Law was given through Moses, Christ has brought us the grace of forgiveness. No one has ever seen God, but he has been revealed to us through his one and only Son, who is at the Father’s side.”

JN 1:6-18

God’s word came to John the son of Zechariah while he was in the wilderness. This was in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea. At the same time, Herod was the ruler of Galilee and his brother Philip ruled the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruled Abilene. Annas and Caiaphas were high priests during this time as well.

John went out into the wilderness of Judea and everywhere around the Jordan, preaching about a baptism to forgive sins for those who are repentant. He was saying “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has arrived.” Everyone from the countryside of Judea and the city of Jerusalem came to him and he baptized them in the Jordan River while they confessed their sins.

He is the one the prophet Isaiah spoke about when he said –

“Look! I am sending my messenger ahead of you who will prepare the way before you. He is a lone voice crying out into the wilderness, saying ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight!’ Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, the crooked path will straighten, the rough path will become smooth, and the entire world will see God’s salvation.”

MT 3:1-3, MK 1:1-5, LK 3:1-6

John’s clothing was made of camel hair and he wore a leather belt around his waist. He ate only locusts and wild honey.

MT 3:4, MK 1:6

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized by him, he said “You are a nest of snakes! Who warned you to flee from the wrath that is coming? You need to act in a way that proves you are repentant. Don’t think you can get away with saying ‘We have Abraham as our father’, because God can produce children for Abraham from the stones that are here! Even now the ax is poised to chop away at the root of the tree! Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

MT 3:7-10, LK 3:7-9

The crowds asked John “What should we do?” He answered “Anyone who has two shirts should give one to the person who has nothing to wear, and if you have extra food you should give it to those who are hungry.” Tax collectors came to be baptized by him and they asked “What should we do?” He answered “Collect only what you are required to by law and nothing more.” Soldiers questioned him in the same manner and he replied “Don’t use force or false accusations to extort money from anyone – be satisfied with what you get paid.”

LK 3:10-14

All the people were debating amongst themselves if John was the Messiah or not. Priests and Levites were sent from Jerusalem to ask him “Who are you?” John said “I am not the Messiah.” Then they asked him “Are you Elijah?” John again said no. Then they asked him “Are you the Prophet?” John again answered “No.” “Then who are you?” they asked. “We have to give an answer to the people who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?” John said “I am a lone person crying out in the wilderness – Make straight the path of the Lord – just like the prophet Isaiah said.”

LK 3:15, JN 1:19-23

Since they had been sent from the Pharisees they asked him “Why do you baptize if you aren’t the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet?”

John said “I baptize using water, but there is One coming after me who is more powerful than I am. I am not even worthy to take off his shoes. He will baptize you using the Holy Spirit and fire. He stands among you but you don’t recognize him. He is ready to separate the good from the bad, just like how a farmer gathers the good wheat into his barn but burns the chaff in an unending fire.”

He used many other similar warnings to announce the good news of the kingdom of heaven to everyone. All this happened across the Jordan in Bethany, where John was baptizing.

MT 3:11-12, MK 1:7-8, LK 3:16-18, JN 1:24-28

The beheading of John the Baptist.

King Herod heard about everything that Jesus was doing. His name had become well known because of all the miracles and healings that he performed. He was perplexed and thought that Jesus must be John the Baptist raised from the dead, because he was able to do supernatural things. Others thought that he was Elijah, and others thought that he was one of the ancient prophets come back from the dead. Herod said “I beheaded John, so who is this I’m hearing stories about?” He wanted to see Jesus for himself.

MT 14:1-2, MK 6:14-16, LK 9:7-9

Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested and put in chains in prison, on account of the fact that he had married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. John had told him that it was not lawful for him to be married to his brother’s wife.

Herodias had a grudge against John because of this and wanted to kill him, but she couldn’t because Herod was afraid of the crowd. They thought that John was an upright and godly man, and a prophet. Herod was disturbed every time he heard what John had to say, yet he still liked to listen to him.

Herodias found an opportunity to get what she wanted at Herod’s birthday party, when he gave a large banquet for all the important people in Galilee. Her daughter pleased everyone at the party with her dancing. Herod made an oath in front of everyone that he would give her anything she asked for, even up to half his kingdom.

She asked her mother what she should request and her mother said “John the Baptist’s head!” Herodias’ daughter asked to be given John the Baptist’s head on a platter right away.

Herod was full of regret, but because of the oath he made in front of important guests he sent orders for John to be beheaded. His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who then carried it to her mother.

When John’s disciples received the news, they removed the body, placed it in a tomb, and then went to tell Jesus what had happened.

MT 14:3-12, MK 6:17-29