Summary: Names mean different things to different people. In the reading we heard from John 1:29-42 a few minutes ago, we heard some of the names given to Jesus and given by Jesus.
You have probably heard the phrase “What’s in a name?” from time to time. Names mean different things to different people. In the reading we heard from John 1:29-42 a few minutes ago, we heard some of the names given to Jesus and given by Jesus.
We heard the name John the Baptist gave to Jesus- “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Deliverance from sin through the blood of a lamb, which was a picture of Old Testament sacrifices, prefigured the coming of Jesus as the Lamb of God. This lamb achieved the final salvation for God’s people through Jesus’ death and resurrection. His death redeemed us from sin, death and Satan. His death also satisfied God’s wrath by making up for our sins.
John’s Jewish audience understood the title “Lamb of God” because they had sacrificed many lambs. This Lamb would be the final, ultimate sacrifice who would take away the sin of the world. As the Messiah, Jesus gathered up all of the Old Testament expectations about an anointed one who would lead and save His people.
Another name that was given to Jesus is “Messiah.” People had high expectations for a rising leader. John the Baptist thought that Jesus was the One…the Coming One…the Lamb of God…The Son of God…The Messiah. But a year or so later, John the Baptist had doubts when the Messiah didn’t act like John thought Messiahs were supposed to act. From prison, John sent his disciples to Jesus with questions: “Hey, I thought you were the Son of God. Why aren’t you Son-of-Godding? Why aren’t you thumping our enemies? Why am I still in jail?”
Another name we heard was “snakes.” John the Baptist could look into people’s souls and see who they really were. That’s why he called the Pharisees and Sadducees “a brood of vipers.” He knew they didn’t want to repent. He also looked at Jesus and knew that Jesus was the Lamb of God. He knew that Jesus had the power to make things new. He knew that Jesus had power over sin and death.
John used his influence to point others toward Christ, just as believers today are called on to do. John’s message was clear: Behold! John the Baptist was the vessel chosen by God to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. God used John to open truths to his people that they can’t understand on their own. Once we have been introduced to these truths, our teachers must hand us over to Jesus so that he can disciple us.
We also heard the name “teacher.” The role of a teacher of the Bible is to bring people to Christ. That’s what Andrew did when he brought his brother Cephas to Jesus. Andrew is a good example for us to follow. Fellowship with Jesus doesn’t end when worship ends. Fellowship should encourage us to share the joy we have with other people. Jesus called Andrew to catch men instead of fish, and that’s the same call he has for us today.