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! 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.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 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.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
Have you ever thought you knew someone until you found out that just maybe you didn’t know them as well as you originally thought? Perhaps a friend you’ve known for years surprised you with a hidden talent that you never knew they possessed. Or maybe throughout the past year you have surprised even yourself with new things that you never thought you would like or have time to do.
In this scripture, John the Baptist is discussing Jesus in some of the most intimate and personal ways possible and yet acknowledges that he never really knew Jesus until now. Scripture tells us that John sees Jesus walking towards him and that John professes that Jesus is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John later states that he himself “did not know him” but that he eventually knew Jesus through the Holy Spirit. John, a known relative of Jesus, most likely knew Him better than most. But without divine intervention, John may not have known Jesus for who He really was; Jesus, the Savior of the World. John talks about this deep abiding presence of the Holy Spirit that is only possible through Jesus Christ. John may baptize folks with water, but Jesus baptizes those same people with the Holy Spirit and allows them to see the old become new all around us.
John closes this story with another bold proclamation and challenge to us disciples today. “I have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” When we see Jesus for who He is, we are changed and we are compelled to testify and share the Good News of the Risen Lord. Over these next 40-some-odd days leading to the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God, I hope we can experience “divine intervention” together. Perhaps we can see our neighbors, our community, and our world in a new way. We might be able to view our enemies as friends and our desert as an oasis.
And wouldn’t it be nice to be able to see ourselves in a new way too? Remember friends, we are Beloved, Whole, and Children of the Lamb of God - for He has taken our sins away.