Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


John 1:26-29
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 1:26-28
vs26-28: Without identifying Jesus by name, John told these representatives from Jerusalem that the coming Messiah was already present in the land. He said, “…among you stands One whom you do not know.” In other words, John had seen the Messiah among the crowds who had come to the Jordan. Then with wonderful humility he made it clear that he was not morally superior to everyone else. Yes, God had sent him to call people to repent by means of water baptism, but personally he wasn’t even worthy to be the slave who took off the Messiah’s sandals. Then we learn that these events took place at a location called Bethany, on the east bank of the river. The exact site is uncertain, but it was probably just north of where the river empties into the Dead Sea.

Monday: John 1:29
v29: On the day after this discussion took place, John looked up and saw Jesus walking toward him. This may have been the very moment when Jesus was returning from His temptation in the nearby Judean wilderness. What is really surprising though, are the first words John uttered when he saw Him. He said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who [lifts up and] takes away the sin of the world (cosmos).” To John himself, and to those Jews who heard this statement, the term “lamb,” particularly one that “takes away the sin of the world,” could have meant nothing else than a lamb used for sacrifice. In other words he pointed to Jesus and prophesied that the moral guilt of the entire human race would be transferred to Him, and like the lamb eaten in the Passover meal (Ex 12:3-11) or one of the lambs sacrificed in the temple, He would rescue us from God’s judgment by dying as our substitute.

Tuesday: John 1:29
v29 (continued): That picture of Jesus is radically different from the one John had been preaching. Two of the other gospels give us samples of typical sermons that he preached (Mt 3:11-12; Lk 3:3-17). They reveal that he focused on the idea that the Messiah would bring God’s judgment, not His mercy. The Coming One would not only baptize the righteous with the Holy Spirit, He would also baptize the unrighteous with “fire” of God’s judgment (Mt 3:11-12; Lk 3:16-17). John’s central message was to warn people to repent before the Messiah arrived because once He arrived it would be too late. With that in mind, the first words that came out of John’s mouth when he saw Jesus are shockingly different. Instead of saying, “Here comes the One who’s going to judge us!” he said, “Behold here comes the One who is going to die for us!” This dramatic change in his message forces us to ask the question, “Where did he get this new revelation?”

Wednesday: John 1:29
v29 (continued): Since John was a true prophet, one possibility is that he spoke words that were given to him by the Spirit but that he didn’t understand. Such things did happen (1Pe 1:10-12), but I personally suspect he spoke a truth Jesus had recently taught him. When Jesus presented Himself to be baptized, John initially resisted saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” (Mt 3:14). To understand John’s reaction we need to remember that Jesus was not someone who was unknown to him, nor is it likely that he was unaware of the unique circumstances of Jesus’ birth (Lk 1:20-35). His mother was the person who took Mary into her home and sheltered her while she was pregnant, when it was not safe for her to be in Nazareth (Lk 1:39-40, 56). As John was growing up in that household, is it possible to think that Elizabeth did not tell him how he had “leapt” in her womb when Mary arrived at their door (Lk 1:41) or that his father, Zacharias, did not tell him about the prophesy he spoke over him at the time of his birth (Lk 1:57-80)?

Thursday: John 1:29
v29 (continued): For John, baptism represented repentance; it was a prayerful renouncing of our sins and calling on God to wash us clean. That’s why baptizing Jesus made no sense to him. Jesus had done no sin, so it confused John when He insisted on being baptized (Mt 3:15). I believe that it was during that event that Jesus explained to John that His obedience to God’s plan for His life would lead to a violent death. Yes, He needed to be baptized, but in His mind the waters of baptism had taken on another meaning. He had not come to the river to wash away sins but rather to lay Himself down in a “watery grave.” He was using this symbol to indicate His full submission to the cross, which He knew was waiting for Him in the future. In effect, as He stood there in the river, He asked John to “bury” Him, and by that action He fully surrendered to the Father’s will.

Friday: John 1:29
v29 (continued): I admit there is no passage to which I can point that proves this conversation between John and Jesus occurred, but if it did, it answers two very important questions: First, why did Jesus want to be baptized when He had done no sin? And second, where else did John learn such a profound insight about the substitutionary death of the Messiah, because it does not appear he understood this truth, at all, before this. Nor did he retain this insight. In time he grew discouraged. From a dungeon in Herod’s prison he sent a messenger to ask Jesus, “Are you the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” (Mt 11:3). It appears that his thinking had returned to the Messiah as a fearsome judge, and Jesus was not doing the things a fearsome judge would do. He seems to have forgotten his own words about Jesus being the “Lamb of God,” so Jesus warned him, “…blessed is he who does not take offense at Me” (Mt 11:6).

Saturday: John 1:29
v29 (continued): Yet the fact that Jesus understood this truth about Himself, even as early in His ministry as His baptism at the Jordan, is shown by statements He made only a few days later. To religious leaders who challenged His authority to drive money-changers out of the temple, He replied, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn 2:19); and to Nicodemus on a rooftop at night, He said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up…” (Jn 3:14). There’s no question that by the end of His earthly ministry He recognized such symbols about Himself in “…the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms…” (Lk 24:44). But I suspect it was these same sorts of passages that He was already discussing with the teachers in the temple when He was only twelve years of age (Lk 2:40-47).  


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