John the Baptist, the Voice, continues to speak as the narrative unfolds. “The next day he (JB) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me. I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel’” (John 1:29-31).
JB’s purpose was coming to fruition. He came to announce the coming of Jesus, the Son of God, and now Jesus was there, in the flesh. These two men, biological cousins born some six months apart, came face to face as the earthly ministry of Jesus was about to explode on the scene, a quiet explosion that has been largely misunderstood even to this day.
This moment had been centuries in the making, evidenced by the many predictions of the coming of Jesus throughout the Old Testament. Not only was the coming of Jesus foretold, but so was the coming of John the Baptist as we have seen previously in the Book of Isaiah, for example. God the Father spoke through the Prophets of the Old Testament to point to the coming of God the Son, Jesus, at the appointed time, and JB would be there, also by the will of God the Father, to identify Jesus as the Christ, the Lamb of God.
The Apostle John’s writing informs, “And John (JB) bore witness: ‘I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him (Jesus). I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend like a dove, this is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God’” (John 1:32-34).
Again turning to Isaiah, we see the mark that would be placed upon the coming Son of God, the coming Messiah. “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:1-2).
OK – maybe you’re wondering how all this language in Isaiah is pointing to Jesus, so let me unpack this a bit. Scripture told that the Messiah would be a descendent of King David, a Davidic king. Ancestry is very important in the plan of God. Note that Bethlehem was known as the city of David, so let’s connect some dots. Jesse was David’s father, so his blood line traveled through David all the way to Jesus. Mary and Joseph, also of the lineage of David, went to Bethlehem when Mary was pregnant with Jesus to be counted in a census. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus, the “shoot from the stump of Jesse.” Jesus would be the divine and ultimate spiritual Davidic King, born in the line of David in the City of David. Jesus is the one and only Son of God and the Spirit of God descended on him, rested on him, and would remain so throughout his earthly ministry.
So when JB sees Jesus on the day of Jesus’ going public, all of these lines intersect. JB realizes that Jesus is the Son of God, the Lamb of God who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. JB’s earthly ministry is done; Jesus’ earthly ministry is beginning. John the Baptist knew that Jesus was and is the Son of God who would take away the sins of the world. John the Baptist believed. What do we believe about Jesus?