“Behold, the Lamb of God.”

John the Baptist’s exhortation in today’s gospel (Jn 1:35-42) is a repeat of the first recorded statement he makes in the presence of Jesus (he said it the day before as well — 1:29).  Because of this, two disciples leave John to follow Jesus.  One of the two, Andrew, then brings his brother Simon to meet Jesus.  Jesus immediately declares the latter Cephas (Rock, Peter).

It is telling that the Baptist describes Jesus in the way that he does.  He does not call Jesus Messiah, Son of God, Son of Man or any other reference to His majesty.  Rather he begins by telling of Jesus mission: that of sacrifice and redemption.  This is what John is paving the way for.  Also, this would indicate that John taught his disciples well the scripture prophecies that prepared for the messiah.  The sacrificial lamb is all over the Pentateuch, but should we imagine John did not emphasize Is 53:7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth”?  So, with five simple words, two disciples, at least, immediately left John to follow Jesus as the one they truly awaited and that John anticipated and prepared for.

John the Baptist, as the one who made “straight the way of the Lord” (1:23), puts out for the world to hear what the mission and fate is for Jesus.  The path forward is set.

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