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The Unknown

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29 NIV

Have you ever been called upon to do something but didn't fully understand why? Without clearly seeing the big picture, you still acted?

John the Baptizer must have felt something of this in the beginning. He was called and obedient to God's will, stepping out in faith without knowing the fullness of the details. He had been called to baptize those who had repented for the forgiveness of sin in preparation for the coming Messiah. He didn't know who this would be or when they would come, but he trusted God it would happen.

We wonder if John was surprised when his younger cousin, Jesus, showed up to be baptized. It's fair to assume that the boys would have grown up together as their mothers were close confidants. They played together as children, going through the challenging teen years into adulthood. Perhaps, they had conversations about careers. "I'm going to be a carpenter." "Well, I'm going to live in the wilderness, eat bugs and honey, and wear itchy clothing." But until this day, the day of his baptism, Jesus' spiritual identity had yet to be revealed. Here’s how John tells the story.

“I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” (v. 32‭-‬34 NIV)

The Lamb of God, the pure and perfect sacrifice spoken of in Exodus 12:3 and Isaiah 52:7, had arrived. John foretells his death on the day of Jesus’ baptism and the beginning of his ministry—the “Lamb of God,” the sacrifice that must die to atone for our sins.

John himself would be martyred before seeing this fulfilled–without ever witnessing Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension. In John's example, we see what it is to answer the unknown and respond by faith when called without knowing or needing the details.

We know with certainty these things, Jesus came to redeem us, he walks with us, we will come before God, and we will be judged by what we did and did not do. That's really all we need to know. Like John, let's respond to God's call in faith, trusting him to direct our steps.

Father, thank you for sending your Son, the pure and perfect lamb, to atone for our sins. We confess we have failed to respond to your call out of fear of not knowing. Instead of stepping out in faith, we have remained petrified in uncertainty. Forgive us; give us the boldness and courage to step into the unknown trusting in you. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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