John the Baptist

DECEMBER 12, 2023

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. (John 1:6, NIV) 
He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. (John 1:8, NIV) 
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NASB)

Behold the Lamb of God

God has used many lives to point us to Jesus, but I can think of none greater than John the Baptist. This is especially interesting as John the Baptist is great for not making himself great. As he sets his life apart to prepare the way for God’s anointed One, he declares “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). He even gets the ultimate reference from Jesus Himself, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7:28a). And then, Jesus continued, “yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (7:28b).

This path to greatness is not merely taking a humble position. God revealed to John the glory of Jesus as the Messiah. John was moved beyond believing to beholding, “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One” (John 1:34). Through his “beholding” he became a witness to the light, admonishing us to “Behold the Lamb of God.” The apostle Paul similarly beheld Christ in a transforming way and then prayed for the followers of Christ that they would know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:14–19).

In the Anglican tradition, we place a big emphasis on God leading us to behold Jesus during Advent. Advent is the first season of the Church year. It lasts for four weeks leading up to Christmas Day. “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming or arrival.” So, the season of Advent is a season of preparation and waiting to celebrate Christ’s first arrival at Christmas and for the second coming when Jesus the Messiah will make all things new (Revelation 21).

During the Advent season this year, let’s remember the life and ministry of John the Baptist pointing us to “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” And may we enter a season of preparation and waiting as we heed the admonishment to “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Luke 3:4).

Dr. C. Gary Barnes
Professor of Counseling Ministries