JN 1: 29-42
Second S. after the Epiphany

Hardly MT, but out there in the margins of life where surprising things happen; and a follow-up to last week's baptism of Jesus by JB. So we'll make JN an honorary MT for this exercise (as we may do again in the weeks after Easter when MT makes way for JN. (Last time round, M in the M 'went into recess' when JN popped up, but it's been suggested he be included this time.)

From the poetic heights of the Word becoming flesh, we're back at ground level where the politics of God play out. As I see it, we need to make a clear distinction between a God who however 'lovingly' we may talk about it sacrifices his Son; & a Son who lovingly offers himself as sacrifice not to the Father's love, but to exemplify it. There's a world of difference. I can no longer live with the former interpretation. The imagery & outworking of the old Hebrew sacrifical system is not a useful tool in our armoury as we proclaim God in Christ today. God is maligned when we turn him into a Son Sacrificer - even for our sins!

v.33 adds some useful information to the actual baptism stories: i.e. that JB was forewarned, & given the discernment to recognize the One on whom the Spirit descends as God's Son. Two ends of one story connect, as so often in scripture; the God end, & our human end. When JB tells us, "this is the One who baptises with Holy Spirit" he doesn't expand on that, try to define it as many do today. It's always God who gives the true meaning to 'baptising with Holy Spirit' in a given setting, not human mind sets that narrow 'baptism with Holy Spirit' down to fit a particular doctrine. We do well to take a leaf out of JB's book & leave it open; see what happens; whether it is of God or not.

The idea of Jesus as sacrificial lamb is rich in Hebrew biblical metaphor, but he is not sacrificed by God. In one sense he is sacrificed by the nation's leaders, & in another, he offers himself in that self-sacrifice at the heart of the Gospel. It's also worth noting that it is of God's nature to cross over quite readily from lamb & sheep to shepherd with all that that suggests.

When two of JB's disciples follow Jesus, he asks them, "What are you looking for?" The Messiah? God? A new direction in life? Their, "Where are you staying?" suggests they want to attach themselves to him for a new stage of spiritual direction. Is it time we attached ourself to a godly Spiritual Director? In a nutshell, "Come and see" is always Jesus' response to any of our questions. We always have to 'come & see' for ourselves. That way we find, we experience true faith, faith with an active edge to it. Jesus doesn't expect us to buy a pig-in-a-poke. Neither does he expect us to travel as spiritual passengers.