I was recently reading John 1 v 29-51, saw some magnificent things, and now I have to write about it. So before you read this, read that passage to get some context on what I’m saying.
Now that you’ve read the passage, let’s dive right in. v 29 begins with a massive theological statement from John the Baptist that hits us like a wonderful freight train. John the Baptist sees Jesus and proclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” What a loaded sentence! John the Baptist, a wild man, with no formal education, has incredibly good theology, and he preaches an incredibly powerful gospel. We could spend all day in that one verse, but I will be succinct.
Jesus, the God man – God as a man, comes down into the world of men as a sacrificial lamb, the Lamb of God, to put an end to all temporary sacrifices for the Jews. But not just for Jews. Jesus comes to destroy sin, for Jews and Gentiles alike. This is massive. This is the gospel. Behold this Jesus. Behold this man, behold this God. Behold the Lamb of God – not just a God sitting in heaven judging the world, but a God who comes down to be judged by himself in the place of the world. This is Christ clothed in the gospel. May the gospel be precious to you.
But there are some incredible connections if we jump over to v 36. The next day John the Baptist again sees Jesus, and declares, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” There were two disciples of John who were standing there witnessing this. In v 37, upon hearing the gospel proclaimed, the two disciples of John, immediately responded to the gospel by following Jesus. This is fascinating. John the Baptist is saying, this man Jesus is the Christ, this is the promised Messiah, and the disciples followed him.
The preaching of the gospel prompts a decision. Follow him, or reject him. One cannot be neutral at the sight of Christ. A side will be taken.
In v 40 we then see that one of the disciples who heard the gospel and followed Jesus, is Andrew. Then in v 41, Andrew immediately goes to his brother, Simon, and proclaims the gospel to him, saying, “we have found the Christ!” We cannot gloss over this.
A receiving of the gospel will result in a spreading of the gospel. Those who hear the gospel proclaimed and receive it, will in turn proclaim the gospel. The gospel is too good to keep to yourself. Things that are exciting to us, we talk about. The only way one talks about the gospel like this, is if they have found Jesus to be this exciting – meaning they have seen Jesus for who He is, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus is exciting. Jesus causes excitement to those whose hearts have been changed by the gospel.
Lastly, I find v 42 just plain awesome. After Andrew proclaims the gospel to His brother, Simon, Jesus, the content of the gospel, looks right at Simon, and says, I know who you are, but I am changing who you are. The gall. The glory. Through the proclaiming of the gospel, the content of the gospel, Jesus, confronts the hearer of the gospel and declares him no longer Simon, but now Peter. There is no option when encountering Christ, He will have you.
There is a beautiful gospel picture here. Because of Jesus, Simon’s identify was completely changed to Peter. He was given a new name, a new identity. How true with all of those in Christ. In Christ we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5 v 17). In Christ we have a new identity. In Christ we have a new name, sons and daughters of God (Galatians 3 v 26). Chosen heirs of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2 v 9). In Christ we have a new name, and our names are written on his hand (Isaiah 49 v 16).
Behold, the Lamb of God who take away the sin of the world.