When I was a child, I would wait with great expectation at the end of the sidewalk in the front of my house. I was waiting for my dad to come home from work. We had a daily ritual: I would put my feet on top of his, and we would walk together to the front steps. As hard as I tried I could only go a couple of steps, and then I would fall off. One day, after several attempts, my dad made a suggestion. He told me to hold his hands, lean back, and look into his eyes. We walked together, with no falls, to the steps. I know now my dad wanted me to look up instead of down at my feet. When I looked down I lost my balance. The secret was in seeing each other.
Our passage from the Gospel of John shows scenes from a journey. John the Baptist has been testifying and baptizing in the area of Bethany. When he is questioned by the authorities about his message, he tells them he is not the one God is sending. The next day John sees Jesus and says to his followers, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John continues to describe Jesus. He tells of his baptism of Jesus. I can only imagine them leaning in and listening to John describe the event: I saw a dove descend and remain. Jesus is not only baptized with water; he receives the Holy Spirit.
The next day after the baptism the writer tells us that John is walking with his disciples. John sees Jesus and says to his disciples: “Look, here is the Lamb of God.” After hearing this, two of John’s disciples start following Jesus.
When was the last time you heard a testimony about Jesus? How did it affect you?
These readings contain the common theme of the power of spoken testimony. Isaiah begins by telling his audience, “Listen to me!” He then recounts not only his own story but also the promises of restoration given to him by God. The psalmist gives testimony of his experience. Although he has been in a difficult place, God has called him out and has given him a new song of praise to proclaim. Paul and Sosthenes write to the Corinthians to remind them of the powerful testimony that they had given them in person, which was confirmed by God. John the Baptist cries out that Jesus is the Lamb of God and bears testimony to the miraculous signs at the baptism. Our testimony as believers today can be just as powerful.
Read Isaiah 49:1-7. What does it mean to be God’s servant? How does this Servant Song speak of your experiences of serving God?
Read Psalm 40:1-11. When has scripture sustained you? What words have become a real presence to you?
Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. When have you turned your gifts inward as a sign of spiritual or social status? How can gratitude help you use your gifts in service to God and others?
Read John 1:29-42. How have you experienced Jesus saying to you, “Come and see”?
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