Mass Reading & Meditation for January 3, 2013
Meditation: John 1:29-34
The Most Holy Name of Jesus
Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
With that one word, “Behold!” John the Baptist introduced the carpenter from Galilee to the crowd at the Jordan River. Until then, Jesus was relatively unknown, whereas John was so highly regarded that people thought he was the prophet Elijah or even the Messiah himself! But John recognized that after baptizing Jesus it was time to step aside: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). So with his “Behold!” John’s ministry drew to a close, and Christ’s began. A new age had dawned. Salvation was at hand.
With John’s “Behold!” some disciples immediately left him to follow Jesus. At last, the time had come! These disciples were the last in a long line of Israelites who had waited for God’s promise to provide a sacrificial lamb (Genesis 22:8). Just as Isaac, Abraham’s son, laid down the wood of his sacrifice, Jesus, the Son of God, took it up in the wood of his cross. Just as Moses sacrificed a lamb to protect the Hebrews from death, so Jesus shed his blood to deliver us from eternal death (Exodus 12). Just as the Suffering Servant was led like a lamb to become “an offering for sin,” so Jesus’ death would atone for our sins and set us free from judgment (Isaiah 53:10, 11).
So how should we respond to this announcement? Old news, perhaps? Not at all! Each one of us can behold Jesus right now. More than just a prophet, Jesus is God-become-man. He is our Redeemer, our Healer, and our Friend. He is the one “who will baptize with the Holy Spirit” (John 1:33).
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what difference Jesus really makes in your life, today is your day. Just as the Holy Spirit helped John recognize Jesus, he can help you. He can reveal Jesus in a way you’ve never experienced before. Spend time praying through the Scripture passages listed in this meditation. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring these words alive, helping you see Jesus as a living, loving Savior. Believe in the love that led Jesus to come down from heaven for you. He is with you right now, just waiting for you to open the door to him.
“Jesus, Lamb of God, thank you for taking away my sin and shame! I open the door of my heart to you.”
1 John 2:29–3:6; Psalm 98:1, 3-6