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Monday Reflection John 1: 29-42

Today’s Gospel reading is divided into two parts: verses 29-34 describe Jesus as the Lamb of God and verses 35-42 recall the First Disciples of Jesus.

The Lamb of God

The image of Jesus as the Lamb of God (verse 29) depicts an image of sacrifice. This sacrificial language and imagery continues throughout the New Testament narratives. Although Jesus is the Lamb of God, that role does not end with him, but Christ’s followers continue sacrificing themselves on behalf of others, so that they might be forgiven, liberated, and empowered for new life. One of the ways that this can be done is in working for justice. For examples, Martin Luther King Jr., led a non-violent revolution against racial injustice and inequality. He was ultimately killed in the process. Wasn’t he too a lamb of God? Mother Teresa of Calcutta treated those tossed out as rubbish as thought they were Jesus himself and offered a different vision for humanity. Closer to home, James Anderson, who founded the not-for-profit charity Depher, has sacrificed his normal day job as a plumber to provide free heating for the elderly or vulnerable. People well known in their communities, whose names we may not recognise, continue to work on behalf of others. Jesus is indeed the Lamb of God and that work continues through Jesus’ followers and many other kind people.

Being Disciples

Andrew and Simon were followers of John the Baptist, and when they heard him say that Jesus is the Lamb of God, they followed Jesus and asked him (verse 38), “Where are you staying?” They progressed from being fishermen, to being followers of John, to becoming disciples of Jesus. They go through a process of discovering their own identities and this is inextricably linked to their purpose or calling, a mission. Each of them was part of something much bigger than themselves, because they were connected to someone much bigger.  When Jesus realised that Andrew and Simon were tagging along, he turned and asked them in verse 38: “What are you looking for?” This is precisely the question each of us must answer for ourselves and we think of this especially as we come forward personally for baptism or confirmation. And, indeed, in witnessing those taking these vows we have an opportunity to remember and revive our own baptismal and confirmation promises.

Still in the season of Epiphany, this is the time when we reflect on God’s self-revelation in the incarnation. In this story we are reminded that Jesus’ missional purpose as the Lamb of God is connected to who he is as Son of God. We also see that the disciples (and us) are connected to something much bigger than us, and our lives take on meaning as we engage in God’s mission in our own church context. 

Posted on January 23rd 2023

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