YEAR A, LECTIONARY P:33.
ISAIAH 49:1-7. PSALM 40: 1-12. I COR 1:1-9. JOHN 1:29-42
We’re hoping that someone is writing a booklet on THE LAMB OF GOD, because this image is so central to our Community of the Resurrection that it is CR’s, and the College’s, badge, on our belts and blazers, and worn by the other people who are specifically associated with us, our Associate, the Oblates, Society of the Resurrection, Companions.
Today, Epiphany 2, readings point to the Messiah, or Christ in Greek; and the reading from John’s Gospel specifically identifies Him with the Lamb of God. The moment when Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary, became an adult, and aware of his personal Ministry, and it is the time in his people’s history when people are already full of expectation, of a prophet and more than a prophet, who will rescue them from the oppressive Romans and their chums, the dynasty of Herod who suck up to the Romans,
So when John the Baptizer, Jesus’ cousin, appears, they naturally ask “Are you He ?”
The answer is a big “NO”.
Then God sends His Dove – not the crumb-seeking pigeons which frequent our Bus Stations today and doubtless scratched around market places and Temples in Antiquity, but a beautiful, iridescent wood pigeon. The Bird hovers and alights on Jesus’s water saturated locks, as he emerges from River Jordan, which we hope is less muddy than it is today.
Incidentally, Jesus probably wasn’t naked – Jewish custom then as now would have made that out of the question. This ultimate humiliation was to be inflicted on Jesus by the Romans, at his Crucifixion.
But how did Jesus get the extraordinary title, LAMB OF GOD ? People are looking expectantly for their Saviour, and it is John Baptist as a true Prophet, who gives it to him, because John is himself a prophet, the last of the long line stretching back through the Old Testament and so is entitled to see into the future.
Today we are given the Apostle John’s account of the Baptism.
John the disciple whom Jesus loved, and out of modesty John doesn’t name himself here. When John Baptist names Jesus, two Apostles are named, Simon Peter, and Andrew, but there is a third who is not named, and that must be the disciple whom Jesus loved, author of this account.
Today we are told how straight after His Baptism, the future Apostles are called by Jesus Himself. It was as if it were the inauguration of His Ministry right up to His Death on the Cross. (Other Gospels have other accounts of this inauguration.)
And we remember that in John’s Gospel, Jesus dies on the Cross at the very time that the Lambs were being sacrificed in the Temple.
At the very start of the Epistle for today, the very start of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes as someone who has just been grabbed by Jesus, so much in Love with Jesus he can’t speak or write about anyone else.
Paul’s conversion was so much much more vivid than ours.
Many of us are aware of our own personal conversion experience, the moment when our church-going faith became a personal experience. We think we found Jesus, but in fact He was looking for us, and still does, this and every day.
Our job as Christians is each and every day to be more and more aware of his Presence. One of the best ways to make sure we are aware of this Presence is to make a habit of saying the Jesus Prayer as far as possible all the time, at least when we remember to say it:
LORD, JESUS CHRIST, SON OF THE LIVING GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER.