Weekly Gospel Reflection—19 January 2014
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is really greater than me because he existed before me.’ Even I didn’t recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and it rested on him. Even I didn’t recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit coming down and resting is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.”
The next day John was standing again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus walking along he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard what he said, and they followed Jesus.
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he asked, “What are you looking for?”
They said, “Rabbi (which is translated Teacher), where are you staying?”
He replied, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.
One of the two disciples who heard what John said and followed Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Christ). He led him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
“The Lamb of G_d who takes away the sin of the world.” This is a huge claim. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Did Jesus do it? Did he actually, really, ‘take away the sin of the world’?” If we’re honest, we might have to say, “No. He didn’t” We could base this on just a cursory glance at the world around us.
But as people of faith, we can’t just look at the things we see. We have to see things we can’t yet see. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews had something very profound to say about this. She* put it this way, “Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see” (Hebrews 11.1). What is the “reality of what we hope for”? Is it not a world at peace? A world without violence? A world of equality? A world without disease or poverty? A world where Love rules every life; every decision; every action?
The only way that world is fully established is if Jesus actually took away “the sin of the world”. Notice that this isn’t “sins” — plural — but “sin” — singular. It’s the one sin, the base sin, that Jesus removed. That sin is known as the “sin of Adam.” The first sin. The sin from which all others spring.
This is a crucial thing. If Jesus removed that sin, that barrier between G_d and creation, then all of creation has been set free. The door has been unlocked and is standing wide open; the chains have been shattered (Acts 16.26). Humanity is released. We’re now free to move beyond our basic desires and affections. We no longer have to celebrate negative human traits. We can now move beyond them.
That is what Jesus did. He did remove the sin of the world. It’s now up to us to live in that freedom. The calling for people is to live as if we believe that Jesus did take away the sin of the world. And because of that, we’re now free to be Jesus in the world.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC