January 19, 2020
The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).
Something to Do
And John testified
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus not only through his ministry of baptism and preaching but also through his witness to his own encounter with Jesus, when he saw the Spirit descend and knew Jesus to be the Son of God.
We, too, are called to bear witness to our encounters with Jesus – to let people know about the impact of our faith on our lives and who we have come to understand God to be. Over the next few weeks, we will hear from some Ascension members as they share their Epiphany stories with us. If you are not one of those storytellers, find another opportunity to share your story with someone you trust.
Come and See
Last Sunday, I issued an Epiphany challenge. Actively look for the presence of God in your life by developing the habit of asking yourself how God is speaking to you in any given situation or experience. What is God revealing about you or the world or Godself in this particular place or encounter? How is God inviting you to respond to this particular challenge or opportunity? Where is God calling you?
This discipline starts with the assumption that God is, indeed, present to be heard or seen or felt. Remember that in each moment and every place, Jesus is inviting you to “Come and see”.
And, having seen, do as John the Baptist or as Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, and tell someone about it.
Something to Wonder
What are you looking for?
Imagine that you are following Jesus, curious about who he is and what he’s doing. He turns and sees you and asks, “What are you looking for?”
How do you answer?
The many names of Jesus
- Son of God
- Lamb of God
These four names are all used to talk about or address Jesus in this passage. Which of them means the most to you? Why? Which means the least? Why?
What name (in this list or not) do you use for Jesus? What does that name mean to you?
Something to Learn
The Lamb of God
The image of the Lamb of God is a rich and complicated one, with layers of history in both Jewish and Christian thought. The articles below offer a glimpse of this richness. Some of the meanings will be comforting to you; some of the meanings will be challenging.
“Another Look at the ‘Lamb of God’” by Chris Skinner goes through 9 views on the image of the lamb of God. It’s long but easily skimmed.
“Why is Jesus called the Lamb of God” from the website Catholic Straight Answers provides a very traditional Catholic perspective.
“The Politics of the Lamb of God” by Amy Lindeman Allen wonders about the political implications for Christians of this image, tying it to the great liberating message of the Gospel.
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.