Gospel Reflection Tuesday before the Epiphany (3 January) – The Lamb of God
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (1: 29-34) in which John the Baptist, seeing Jesus coming towards him, says, ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the word! This is the one I spoke of when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks before me because he existed before me.’
Fr Paul says in contrast to the other Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke, where the disciples gradually discover who Jesus is, John gives us a week between the baptism and the marriage-feast of Cana, during which Jesus is given increasingly talked about and given significant titles by those who meet him. We hear of titles like: Rabbi, the Messiah, Son of God, King of Israel. Perhaps the most significant of all are those given by the John the Baptist himself, as we hear in today’s Gospel: Lamb of God and Chosen One of God. The title Lamb of God is here at the beginning of John’s Gospel and we hear it again at the Crucifixion.
According to John, Jesus dies at the moment the paschal lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple, and John alone refers to Jesus, the scriptural saying ‘Not one bone of his will be broken’ (John 19.36), which is also originally part of the instructions for the sacrificing of the lamb at the Festival of Passover (Exodus 12.46). In the Book of Revelation Jesus is represented standing ‘as a Lamb that seemed to have been sacrificed’. It is therefore an image both of his suffering and of his triumph. It also links up with the picture of Jesus as the Suffering Servant of the Lord who moves through suffering and humiliation to vindication and to the triumph of God.
Fr Paul invites us to reflect on today’s Gospel Lesson – we are learning more and more about Jesus and who he truly is when we reflect on the titles he has been given.