The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
– John 1:29 (ESV)
John was busy. His ministry had really taken off. Great crowds were coming to him to be baptized (Luke 3:7), and he had a number of disciples under his teaching. Many had heard John speak of the coming Messiah, and were eagerly hoping for His arrival. Some had actually seen Him and witnessed the extraordinary events at His baptism. But afterwards, nothing was heard or seen of Jesus until over a month had passed.
When John saw Him again, he recognized Him and immediately proclaimed to those around him, “Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Those who had not been at the baptism might have doubted that Jesus could be the Promised One. Forty days of fasting must have changed Jesus’ appearance. He was probably gaunt… emaciated. It looked like He shouldn’t be able to stand, and yet He was obviously full of Life, for Jesus walked in the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14). God’s power was revealed through His physical weakness.
For the undecided and doubters, John gave his account of what he saw weeks earlier:
“I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
– John 1:32-34 (ESV)
John was all about shining the spotlight on Jesus. At every opportunity he told his listeners of the Messiah. He fed a hunger in them for the Promised One: “Someone is coming who is greater than I.” They were now on the lookout for Him.
So it was only natural the next time John saw Jesus and pointed Him out, two of his disciples did the no-brainer: they left their master for a new One.
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
– John 1:35-36 (ESV)
One disciple was Andrew and the other was likely John, writer of the fourth gospel. (John shows more familiarity with the Baptiser than the other gospel writers, and while he names other disciples in his gospel, he avoids mentioning his own.)
The Baptiser had performed his mission well.
We have a similar mission: pointing people to the Lamb of God. How well are we doing it?