Daily Readings, Day Four
September 29, 2017
John 1:29-51 (NRSV)
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Jesus hits the ground in John. There’s been a formal philosophical introduction but no regular backstory. Who is this man? Where did he grow up? Where has he come from? John eschews regular biographical function and answers those questions like this. He is the Lamb of God. He grew up in the stars. He comes from God.
These three days begin with John’s highly religious, mystical introduction. There is priestly imagery – Spirit descending, baptism which has its roots in Jewish cleansing ritual, and this symbol of Lamb – which could reference the temple sacrifices, the scapegoat that takes blame into the wilderness, or the Passover meal.
And the days end with a nod to an ancient story from these men’s cultural and religious founding fathers. Before Jacob knew God for himself, he had a dream, and in that dream there was a ladder to heaven, and Jacob woke up and said, “God is here and I didn’t know it.”
God is here, and I didn’t know it.
That’s more or less what is happening all around Jesus, as people walk around with him, listen to his little cryptic stories and comments, and come and see what he’s about for himself.
God is here, and I didn’t know it.
Ask Jesus, if you like, to help you come and see today where God is in or around you.