In our previous text a delegation of Jews came to John the

Baptist from the Sanhedrin Council in Jerusalem.  They had come

to question John and find out if he claimed to be the Christ.

John informed them that he was not the and that the Christ was

already in their midst.  In our text today John identifies Jesus

as the Christ.


I.  The timing of John's announcement


    V. 29, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and

saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the

world."  Note that this took place on the very next day after the

delegation from Jerusalem had questioned John.  John had told the

Pharisees that the Christ was already in their midst.  He could

have meant only that Christ was somewhere among the people of the

land.  However, since he was able to point out the Christ the

very next day, it is likely that me meant that the Christ was

right there in the crowd as he spoke.  It is very likely that the

Pharisees were still present in the crowd when John made the

identification.  They would surely want to stay long enough to

observe John hear what John had to say to the crowds in order to

give a full report to the Sanhedrin Council about his activities.

So we cannot be absolutely certain that they were still present,

but we can be reasonably sure that they were.

    John said, "Behold!."  That is, he called out to the crowd so

as to get the attention of everybody.  It is like saying, "Hey,

everybody!  Listen up! I want all of you to hear this."


II.  The wording of the announcement


    John pointed out Jesus to that crowd and said, "Behold the

Lamb of God..." You will note that John did not use the word

"Christ." He did not say, "Behold the Christ of God."  If he had,

the people would have immediately drawn up a picture in their

minds of a king, because the people all thought of the promised

Christ as the future king of Israel.  They were wishing for a

king to deliver them from the Romans.  Indeed, He was the future

king, but He had not come to reign as king at this time.  Rather,

He had come to suffer and die on the cross.  Therefore God did

not want John to use a word that would call to their minds a

king.  God wanted John to use a word that would call to their

minds a man who would suffer tremendously.  So John said, "Behold

the Lamb of God..."  (A meek and lowly one).

    A lamb had been used as a symbol of suffering and death down

through the years of Israel's history.  When Abraham and Isaac

went up the mountain to make a sacrifice, Isaac said, "We have

the fire and we have the wood, but where is the sacrifice?"

Abraham answered, "The Lord will provide a sacrifice."  They

looked around and a lamb was caught in the bushes and that lamb

was offered up as a sacrifice to God.  Abraham really had in mind

that Isaac would be the sacrifice, but the lamb in the bush was a

substitute for Isaac.  That lamb had represented the Christ who

is a substitute for sinful man.

    When the children of Israel were delivered from bondage in

Egypt, a lamb was sacrificed at every Israelite home and the

blood of the lamb was sprinkled on the door lintel of every home.

That passover lamb represented the Christ, who would be slain in

order that sinful man might be delivered from bondage to sin.

The people of Israel had been delivered from bondage in Egypt

through the blood of the passover lamb, but lost sinners would be

delivered from bondage to sin through the blood of the Christ.

Every year the people of Israel would celebrate the Passover and

kill the Passover lamb in order the picture the Lamb of God who

would save men from sin.

    Once the tabernacle was built and the sacrificial offerings

upon the brazen altar were started, the children of Israel were

required to offer a lamb as a whole burnt offering every morning

and another lamb as a burnt offering every evening.  The lamb was

completely burned on the altar.  This was done to portray that

one day The Christ, the Lamb of God, would suffer on the cross of

Calvary for the sins of man.

    In Isaiah chapter fifty-three the prophet Isaiah uses a lamb

to portray the suffering of the Christ.  I want to read some of

these verses to you.  As I read listen for two things.  Listen

for the suffering of the Christ and listen to the comparison

between the Christ and a lamb.

    Isaiah said, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of

sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our

faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely

he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did

esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was

wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our

iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with

his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid

on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the

slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers  is dumb, so he

openeth not his mouth.  He was taken from prison and from

judgment: and who shall declare his generation:  for he was cut

off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my

people was he stricken," Isa.  53:3-8.

    John said, "Take a look at Jesus.  Jesus is the Lamb of God.

Jesus is the promised Christ of God, who will suffer and die for

the sins of the world.  He will die not just for the people of

Israel, but He will die for the sins of the people of the whole

world.  Jesus will suffer and die that guilty sinners can repent

of their sins and be saved."

    V. 30, "This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man

which is preferred before me..."  John the Baptist had repeatedly

told the people that Jesus would be preferred before him.  That

is, Jesus would have a higher rank than himself.  John was but a

prophet of God, but Jesus is the very Son of God.  He is Deity

God dwelling in a human body.  John had authority from God to

preach and to baptize, but Jesus is Almighty God.  He has all

authority both in heaven and in earth.  He has all power and


    (V. 30), "...for he was before me."  From the fleshly point

of view, John was six months older than Jesus, but in reality

Jesus was in existence long before John was ever conceived in his

mother's womb.  Jesus, as the Son of God and as the Word of God,

existed before the world was ever formed.  He is eternal just as

God the Father is eternal.  There never has been a time when He

did not exist.


III.  How John himself had learned that Jesus is the Christ


    V. 31, "And I knew him not..."  John is saying, "When I first

started preaching telling you folks that the Christ was about to

come, even I did not know who He was."  It is possible that John

was acquainted with Jesus as a fellow human being.  Mary, the

mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist,

were cousins.  That made John and Jesus kinfolk in the flesh.  So

John may or may not have known Jesus as a fellow human being.

But even if John did know Jesus during the first part of his

ministry, John did not know that Jesus is the Christ.

    John then goes on to explain how he got to know that Jesus is

the Christ.  (V. 31), "...but that he should be made manifest to

Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water."  On the

previous day, the delegation from the Sanhedrin had asked him why

he was baptizing and he had not directly answered their question.

Now he tells them, at least, one of the reasons he was to baptize

people.  The Christ would come to John to be baptized by him and

it would be during that baptism that God would give John a sign

so that he would know that this particular man is the Christ.

    That event has already taken place.  Before the delegation

came to question Jesus, John had already baptized Jesus and had

already seen the sign.  He already knew that Jesus is the Christ.

    John explained, V. 32, "And John bare record, saying, I saw

the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon

him."  God had told John in advance that when he would see the

Holy Spirit descending like a dove and lighting upon one whom

John was baptizing he would know that this is the Christ.

    V. 33, "And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize

with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the

Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which

baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."

    I am not certain at what point of time God told John this.

He could have told him this before he ever baptized anybody.  At

any rate, every time John started to baptize a man, John would

get very excited.  He would anxiously watch to see if the Holy

Spirit was going to come down upon that man in the form of a

dove.  Day after day went by and no dove came down.  Man after

man was baptized and none of them were identified as the Christ.

    But finally, it took place.  One day Jesus came to John to be

baptized.  John knew that Jesus was a very righteous man even

before he baptized Him, but he did not know that He is the

Christ.  Then, as he was baptizing Jesus, all of a sudden he saw

the dove coming down and it lit upon Jesus.  I would think the

dove lit upon Jesus just as He was coming up out of the water

rather than before He went down into the water.  At any rate, the

Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove came down and lit upon Him and

just sat there.  He did not fly away.

    Our writer does not mention it, but Matthew says that at this

point that God the Father from heaven spoke and said, "This is my

beloved Son..."  V. 34, "And I saw, and bare record that this is

the Son of God."


IV.  Some things worthy of notice


    Now get this:  The Sanhedrin Council has now made an official

inquiry concerning the ministry of John the Baptist.  John has

given his official answer that he is not the Christ, he is not

Isaiah and he is not one of the other prophets come back to life.

John has also now given his official announcement to the

Sanhedrin Council and to the whole nation of Israel that Jesus of

Nazareth is the Christ.  John is a man sent from God to make this

announcement on behalf of God the Father concerning His Son.

Jesus is the Christ.  Jesus is the Son of God.  Jesus is the

Savior of the world.  Jesus is the Savior of all who will repent

of their sin and place their faith in Him to save them from their


    God has loved man enough to send His Son --- His only

begotten Son --- so that every man, woman, boy and girl in the

world has opportunity to be saved.

    Those Jews from Jerusalem should have left Bethabara with

great joy and returned to Jerusalem with a joyous report.  They

should have reported to the Sanhedrin that the Christ has come

and that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.  The whole Sanhedrin

Council should have set about to spread the news to all the land.

The Christ has come!  The Christ has come!  The Christ has come!

The Christ has come and Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.

    The delegation did return to Jerusalem and we can be sure

that they reported to the Council that John the Baptist said that

Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God.  I can just imagine their

reaction.  "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!  Can you imagine that?  Can you

imagine a carpenter's son being the Christ?  Can you imagine a

carpenter's son being the new king in Israel?"  Of course, I am

not certain that these were their exact words, but I am certain

that they made up their minds right then that they did not

believe John the Baptist and from that moment onward they were

set in their opposition to Jesus.

    Right now those men are suffering in the fires of hell.  They

suffer in hell.  They rejected the one and only way whereby they

could be saved.  They refused to accept God's official witness.

They refused to believe every witness that God presented that

Jesus is the Christ.

    Even so today there are countless numbers of people who are

headed for the fires of hell simply because they refuse to

believe God's message about His Son.  Jesus Christ is the Son of

God.  Jesus is the Lamb of God.  Jesus is the Savior of the

world.  Jesus is the only hope that men have of staying out of

the fires of hell.  Jesus is the only way to heaven.




    If John the Baptist were here today to preach in this service

he would tell us the same thing that he told the people of that

day.  He would urge us to place our faith in Jesus Christ and be

saved.  He would urge all who are saved to give their lives in

submission to Jesus and serve Him faithfully.

    It is too late this morning for those who heard John's

witness to trust in Jesus and be saved.  But it is not too late

for you.  If you keep on putting it off until some other time, it

will soon be too late for you also.  I am asking you to come

today and put your faith in Jesus and be saved.