SCRIPTUREJohn 1: 29-42
The Lamb of God
29 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."*3031323334
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*). 36373839404142
Today is the Second Sunday after Epiphany. Ephipany is the season in the Christian Church when we celebrate all of the manifold ways in which God has chosen to reveal Christ to the nations. Just as the Wise Men followed the star to Bethlehem to behold the King of Kings, we too are invited to notice all of the wonderful ways that Love is revealed to us on a daily basis.
I love John’s declaration concerning Jesus as it appears in today’s Gospel Lesson. Can’t you just imagine him shouting, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Or perhaps it wasn’t a shout at all…Perhaps he could barely whisper as joy filled his heart to overflowing as he whispered, “I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
This side of the cross, I’m not sure we can truly imagine what it was like for our Jewish brothers and sisters to live in anticipation of the Messiah. They believed that the messiah would be born into the world, take away all of their sins, and usher in a new reign of Jewish rule and authority.
They had great hopes for the messiah. Many people lived and breathed for the messiah. They lived inside of the hope of advent, every single day—hoping, praying, waiting, and dreaming of a day when all would be made right in the world.
On the day that John declared, “Behold! The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!” things must have changed in John’s life. He must have had a little more hope, a little more confidence, and little more joy.
See, this is the miracle of epiphany! Every single day Jesus is being revealed to God’s children! He is revealed to us in Word. He is revealed to us in sacrament! He is revealed to us in our every day interactions with one another as we walk in love—saying and doing the loving things that allow the Spirit of God to touch the heart of another.
Just as two of John’s disciples caught sight of Jesus and followed him, so should we. Just as Andrew brought his loved one to meet Jesus, so should we! And just as Simon Peter came running to see the messiah, so should we!
On tomorrow, we will commemorate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King…
Although Rev. King is best known as a civil rights champion, he should also be remembered as a man who lived his entire life in service to others, speaking out against poverty, economic injustice, and violence. Wherever he saw suffering, he did what he could to help, no matter who it was that needed him or why they were in pain. Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing for others?”
Tomorrow, we are called to acts of Love and Service on behalf of those in need. In the past some of us have packaged food for Kids Against Hunger. Others have swung hammers for Habitat for Humanity. And others have served food at Place of Hope.
On the eve of his death, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King stated, “God’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
John the Baptist caught a glimpse of this Promised Land when he declared, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Andrew and Simon Peter caught a glimpse of this Promised Land when they came running to meet Jesus. And we catch a glimpse of this Promised Land every single time we do God’s work with our hands bringing compassion, care, and cheer to those in need of God’s Love.
When I was a little girl, I remember the old folks in my church saying, “Whatever you need, God’s got it!” I thought that this was a very strange expression until I grew up and had my own very significant needs; It was then that I found out for myself that indeed, God’s got it!
(Today) Yesterday, I was braiding my daughter’s hair and mumbling under my breath as I did it. When she asked me who I was talking to, I giggled and said, “I’m praying chile.”
It may seem silly to ask the Holy Spirit to guide your fingers while you braid hair, but I’ve got to tell you it works!
No matter how big or small your problems may be at the start of 2011, my faith is big enough to encourage you that God’s got it!
Just as Andrew brought Simon to Jesus, it is my prayer that we will bring each other to the one who is able to meet all of our needs according to his riches in glory. And just as Jesus knew Simon Peter by name, God knows our names too. God knows our stories. God knows our needs. God knows our pains. And God has a good plan for our lives, not to harm us, but to give us a future and a hope!
Today, it is my prayer that each of us will experience an epiphany in our own lives that illuminates the presence of God in all of our circumstances. No matter how you may feel, you are never alone. God is with you. God will not leave you, nor forsake you. God will usher you into the Promised Land where you will be healthy, happy, holy, and whole, forever and ever amen.
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world…
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaLta