International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday March 1, 2015
Purpose: To discover the role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ baptism and in ours
Bible Lesson: John 1:29-34
Key Verse: “I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.” (John 1:34)
John 1:29-34 (CEB)
(29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (30) This is the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is really greater than me because he existed before me.’ (31) Even I didn’t recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be made known to Israel.” (32) John testified, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and it rested on him. (33) 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.’ (34) I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.”
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
It is important that we understand as 21st century Christians what John the Baptizer meant when he said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! To 1st century Jews it was a very clear statement. The Paschal Lamb that was offered as a sacrifice on the High Holy Day of Atonement blood served as a way for prior sins to be forgiven for the year. John is simply pointing out that Jesus is that forever Paschal Lamb that will remove our sins for today and forever, because Jesus is God’s lamb. While this may have been clear to those Jews of John’s day, for us it requires understanding.
The events recorded in today’s text probably happened a day or two after the baptism of Jesus. John the Baptist's mission was always to promote and point the world and even his own disciples toward Jesus.
John the Baptist came before Jesus, in that he preceded Jesus by some 6 months. John was born to Elizabeth and Zacharias, Mary and Elizabeth were related. John explains, although he was born before Jesus, Jesus was part of the creation deity therefore Jesus came before John. Interesting that Jesus requested to be baptized by John. John was hesitant to baptize Jesus because he did not need baptism, which was a sign of forgiveness. John, knowing Jesus was without spot or blemish had no need for baptism, Jesus told him that his baptism was necessary “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), in modern day terms, it was about making the right impression, dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. The last thing Jesus wanted to do was to alienate John’s followers.
Jesus and John came with the same message, repent and live a godly life of service. Jesus was offering a life of love and grace to all that believed, as was John. John in verse 32 testified, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and it rested on him.
The Spirit of God the Father, came down and rested on God, the Son. Hence theologians have concluded that God is three in one. Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Ghost).
Baptism is an important part of worshipping and recognizing God in our lives. It is as important for us as circumcision was to the Jews. It separates us from the world. Most importantly it is acknowledging the covenant between God and us. We join Jesus in becoming a child of God, through God’s grace and spirit. While we are not God’s children by birth, we are God’s children in spirit. We are reborn in the spirit.
I love the Hymn by the Gaithers “I am so glad I am a part of the family of God.”