29 The next day John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
What exactly is the ‘sin of the world?’ We tend to think of different things. Is it the bad things that we do, things that are just wrong like hurting others or being selfish, or is it something specific like road rage or marriage infidelity? But thinking of ‘sin’ like that and of Jesus as the one who constantly takes away the effects of our worst actions has always seemed kind of simplistic to me. Surely, any meaning that implies how in Christ what we do (or don’t do) doesn’t really matter because the consequences are always dealt with, is just too oversimplistic?
Our various English Bible translations translate different words as ‘SIN’, each with their own particularly nuanced meanings: Two of the most used are AMARTAN and PLANA[i]. AMARTAN is mentioned some 43 times in scripture and comes from a root ‘to miss the mark’. PLANA occurs some 39 times and implies a straying off, a roaming away from safety,truth, or virtue – describing a going astray, a deceiving or being deceived, an erring, a seducing or a being seduced away from something good. Putting that altogether: our sin appears to be the extent to which we fall short of the excellence for which we have been created! The extent to which we fall short of, stray away from that beauty for which we are created.
And so when we confess Jesus as the One who ‘takes away the sin of the world’we are confessing our faith in Christ’s work of enabling us and all of creation to be brought back into that place of original blessing that God has always intended for us!
31 …but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
John the Baptist is explaining how the whole point of his lifeis that the essence of Jesus might be revealed for others through him! Johnsaw his main task as bringing clarity to who and what Jesus actually is doing in creation as opposed to obfuscating him/ making Christ cloudy and inaccessible! My goodness! Don’t you LONG to be used like that?
…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.
This describes the beautiful point of all our witnessing! As the result of what we do, those around us are to acknowledge Christ’s presence with them but not only that, they are also to begin following him – living according to the Way that Christ intends for them! This is about something so much more beautiful and inclusive than mere proselytizing. What we are talking about is our lives becoming what we’ve been made by God by God in Christ to be. That’s what following Jesus actually means! It’s not about us becoming ‘fans’ however adoring. Following Jesus is about him drawing out an awareness of the best of our truest selves. And then about us becoming useful for others also to come into that awareness for themselves.
38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?”
Isn’t that just SO challenging! I suspect we all have our personal agendas for following Christ: some good, probably some not so good. Sometimes we follow because we think of Jesus as our personal Genie always ready to grant our very whim and desire.
They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher),“where are you staying?”
39 He said to them, “Come and see.”
Those are our marching orders – having glimpsed Jesus, we are simply to follow! …and we are to do so with opened eyes!
I WONDER WHERE WE COULD FIND OURSELVES BEING LED THIS YEAR, IF ONLY WE WOULD ALLOW OURSELVES TO ‘COME & SEE’.
Imagine what that could actually look like – the difference we could make in a world that is so filled with angry polarizing ideologies as we begin truly to live into all of what we have been given to be and to do as Christ followers…
- Imagine what our most meaningful environmental engagement would look like as, e.g., we take and face the environmental crisis of Global Climate Change as seriously as Christ intends…?
How are we being led?…COME & SEE
- Imagine the difference we could be making right here in Vernon – the level of volunteering we could offer our community – tackling homelessness, all sorts of general partnerships and help…:
How are we being led? …COME & SEE
- Imagine the difference in our homes, our families…?
Of course we are already touching many of these areas, but imagine with me for a moment what else, what more?
Well, let’s follow, and let’s …COME & SEE
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