First Glance: John 1:29-51

John 012934

“John the Baptist Sees Jesus from Afar” by James Tissot

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. (John 1:36-37)

Throughout this passage testimony plays a huge role. John testifies that Jesus is “God’s Chosen One”. When he points Jesus out to two of his disciples they immediately go and follow Jesus. Andrew, one of the two, seeks out his brother Peter and testifies to what he has seen, “We have found the Messiah”. Peter too comes to follow. The next day Jesus calls Philip to follow him. Philip immediately goes and looks for Nathanael and tells him “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” After Nathanael has seen Jesus he declares, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

Each of these people see God at work and have to share it. They can’t keep what they have seen quiet. This news must be shared. I’m reminded of the prophet Jeremiah’s words:

But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)

When Christ has been revealed to us, we have no choice but to testify. We cannot hold it in. It is not something we can keep to ourselves. Each person in our passage who encounters Jesus is changed. They see the Lamb of God, the messiah. This is the one they have been waiting for their entire lives. This is the one their parents, their grandparents, their great-grandparents have all eagerly anticipated. How could they do anything but share what they had seen?

This makes me wonder about my own encounter with Jesus and testimony. Growing up the word “testimony” sounded fairly intimidating. I knew that if someone was going to give their testimony it was a pretty big deal. The thought of sharing my own testimony made my heart race and filled me with anxiety. My story didn’t seem all that exciting, and I didn’t want others to think it was insignificant. I later realized the difficulty in my understanding of the word testimony. I had thought a testimony was something belonging to me when in fact a testimony is about God. Our testimony tells others where we have seen God at work in our lives. That sounded a lot easier to me. Where did I see Jesus Christ in my life? I saw Christ in the witness of my parents, my Sunday school teachers, my mentors, my pastors… They taught me of Jesus’ humility, forgiveness, love, and so much more — not only through God’s word itself, but also in how they lived. When I did something wrong, my parents forgave me. They loved me. When they saw a person in need, they helped them. In their testimony I grew to know who Jesus is. God’s word had become for them a fire in their bones which cannot be held in, which must be shared.

Have you experienced this same fire?

Where have you seen God at work in your life?

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