Not only is John the Baptist secure in his own identity, he has very few doubts about the identity of Jesus as well! He is in no doubt that Jesus is the ‘Lamb of God’ who will take away the sin of the world. What is the meaning of this seemingly enigmatic title?

The title, ‘Lamb of God’ is derived from the celebration of Passover. A young lamb (or goat) is slaughtered and eaten in a commemorative meal remembering the night when the Chosen People fled from the land of Egypt. It is also reminiscent of the celebration of Yom Kippur when a young goat is sent into the wilderness to die carrying on its back the sins of the people. These images serve to inform us of the meaning of the title in question.

When John the Baptist gives Jesus this title, he is in no small way prophesying the how Jesus earthly life and ministry will come to an end. Jesus will die in order to take away the sins of the world. John has little or no doubt that this is what will happen to Jesus. This is an incredible insight into the identity of Jesus with which to be gifted. John shares it with his disciples in order to encourage them to follow Jesus. Perhaps this knowledge also helped the disciples to understand the meaning of Jesus death in that time of shock before the resurrection.

It is also instructive to note the honesty of John’s assessment of Jesus and his own identity. He does not try to present himself as someone more important than he really is. Nor does he try to diminish the identity of Jesus in order to elevate his own in comparison. We should learn the lesson of humility from the honesty of John the Baptist. When we proclaim the Gospel it is of paramount importance that we promote Christ and not ourselves as the means to salvation. Only Jesus is capable of saving us from the condemnation of our sins.

How often do I reflect upon the central nature of Christ’s life in the work of my salvation? Do I ever try to draw attention to my self rather than to Jesus when I share the Gospel with others?

Holy Spirit, help me to keep the correct focus in my life upon the role of Jesus in my own salvation and in the mission of proclaiming Him as Savior of the world. Let my life be a signpost for others to discover the way to Jesus.