Friday, January 13, 2017

John 1:29-42 The Lamb and the Dove

KEY TEXT: John 1:29, 35-37 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!...The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

KEY THOT: John identifies Jesus as the "Lamb of God." This title suggests two things: his mission and his character. In his mission, he was called to lay down his life as the atoning sacrifice that "takes away the sin of the world!" This is amazing. John did not say Jesus takes away the sin of the elect, but the sin of the world: Jesus' atoning sacrifice covers the sins of everyone in the world. The door of reconciliation is open for all. But just because the door is open doesn't mean everyone is rushing in. If we don't believe it, we won't go anywhere near the door. That is why John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world,  that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." 

God doesn't just love the elect--He loves the whole world. Unfortunately, not all know about the message so that they may believe and return to the Father to receive eternal life. God sent his Son not to condemn but to save the world. Our task as His church is to be like Andrew: invite people to let them see and hear the good news about Jesus: "He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah' (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus" (John 1:41-42). We cannot convert anyone, except the Spirit of God. But we can invite people to evangelistic gatherings like Alpha so they may have an opportunity to hear the good news about Jesus.

The other aspect of Jesus as "Lamb of God" describes his character. The lamb is one of the meekest of God's animals. It is harmless and often a victim of predatory animals. It is totally dependent on the shepherd to protect and lead them. In order to survive, they have to be totally submitted to the will of shepherd. Jesus as the Lamb of God bears this characteristics of meekness: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:29, KJV).

The Greek word translated "meek" in the KJV is praus. This is the same one used in Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek (praus)." However, this word in Matthew 11:29 is often translated in modern versions as "gentle". But meekness must not be confused with mildness. Rather it refers to a character that is totally submitted to do the will of the Father: "Not my will but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42). And it is this characteristic of harmless submission to the will of the Father that enables the Spirit which appears as a dove (another gentlest of God's creatures) to rest upon the Lamb: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him" (v.32).

What this says it that if we want to experience the anointing of the Spirit resting on us, we need to share the same characteristics of gentleness as the Spirit. The Spirit is like a dove and He will only rest on a person who has lamb-like characteristics of meekness--one who is not aggressive, stubborn, vindictive or self-willed. Aggression is the opposite of meekness--and it drives the Dove away.

May God remove the hardness and harshness from our hearts so we may become lamb-like in our attitude towards Him and others. If we want the Dove to rest upon us continually, we need to have lamb-like disposition. We need to repent of hardness and harshness in our treatment of others.

Father, makes us like Jesus, Lamb of God, willing to lay down our lives and willing to be meek and submissive to You. Let Your Spirit descend upon us in power. Amen.

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