Summary: When Jesus started his ministry it was a new beginning for him. When he called his disciples it was a new beginning for them also. When we become born again it is a new beginning for us as well.
1) Jesus’ new beginning.
• New title (Vs. 29-31). Lamb of God. In fact, this is the only place in the bible where this title is found; here and in verse 36. Nearly 30 times in Revelation Jesus is referred to as the Lamb. On the eve of the plague of the firstborn, when the Israelites were being delivered from the Egyptians, God told his people to sacrifice a lamb without defect and put its blood over the doorframes of their houses. In doing this the angel of death would pass over their house and all inside would be spared. This would be henceforth known as Passover. Now, in the person of Jesus Christ we see the new Lamb. In 1st Cor. 5:7, Jesus is referred to as our Passover Lamb. In this we understand the new sacrifice; the new way to deal with sin. The old way to deal with sin was to sacrifice a literal lamb. But the new way, the new sacrifice was the new and final Lamb-Jesus. 1st Pet. 1:18-20. Through Jesus, the new Lamb, we have been redeemed from our old, empty way of living. We have embraced the new life; the new way. Jesus is our pure Lamb.
• New baptism (Vs. 32-34). Baptism itself was a new thing (OT does not mention the word ‘baptism’). Jesus received the Holy Spirit coming upon him at his baptism. Why does anyone think it strange that the same wouldn’t be true of his followers at their baptism? Acts 2:38, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The old baptism, John’s baptism, was one of repentance. It was foreshadowing the new, true baptism that would follow-the one done in the name of Jesus. This new baptism was a complete baptism. Here there would be remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s decent on Jesus was a new thing. Until this point the Holy Spirit had either come upon people (in Isaiah 59:21-The Lord told Isaiah ‘My Spirit, who is on you’) or the Holy Spirit had influenced someone but we see here that in verses 32-33 John makes it clear that the Holy Spirit not only descended upon Jesus but also remained on him. The Holy Spirit would indwell Jesus. Thus it would be indicative of what would take place later with the followers of Jesus. Today there are people who have had experiences with the Holy Spirit, they may have had the Holy Spirit come upon them in power but that’s not the same as having the Holy Spirit take up residence in them. Jesus was introducing a new thing; a new and wonderful concept-the Spirit of God living in me. A new beginning.
2) The disciples’ new beginning.
• New direction (Vs. 35-39). Before they were following John the Baptist but now they were going to follow their new teacher-Jesus. Jesus asked them “what do you want?” The first words of Jesus in the book of John are a question. As if he was saying to them, “Do you want the same old-same old or are you ready for something new? Are you ready for new teaching? Are you ready for new heights? Are you ready for new identities?” What about us; what do we want? Are we ready for something new? Are we ready to go in a new direction? Or are we too comfortable with the same old-same old? When we responded to Jesus saying “follow me” we responded to a new calling, a new way; a new life. That’s what the disciples were doing in their answer. By asking Jesus where he was staying they were expressing a desire to know Jesus. They wanted to go to where he was staying so they could sit with him and learn from him. Often times the place where Jesus was staying was not a nice, cozy place but the disciples still wanted to be with Jesus. What about us? Are we “fair-weathered followers” or are we willing to be with Jesus no matter where we are? Whether the place we’re staying is in a mansion or in a hut or under a bridge, our devotion and desire to be with Jesus shouldn’t change. When we decide to follow Jesus we have to answer Jesus’ question, “what do you want?” What kind of Christianity are we looking for? The kind that receives a ticket to heaven without the desire for a transformed life? Do we want the Savior Jesus without the Lord Jesus? It doesn’t work like that. We can’t have a relationship with Jesus on our terms. We come to him as we are but we can’t choose to stay as we are. Jesus was going in a new direction when he started his ministry. His focus changed. He went from being a carpenter to being the Teacher, the Master, the miracle worker; the sacrificial Lamb. What about us. Did our focus change when we were born again? Did it become new? Or has our lives pretty much stayed the same? Do we find ourselves thinking new thoughts? Are our attitudes or behaviors new or have they stayed the same? If we’re going to live for Jesus our lives need to go in a new direction. A new beginning.