The Next Day
January 15, 2023
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
The Next Day
We really do not understand time. No one does. Even Einstein did not understand fully what either time or space were. What we experience about time is what we know. Our experience tells us that one thing leads to another.
We experience before, during, and after.
We experience a sequence of events, one built upon another.
John the Baptist understood that and so can we. He was one sent to prepare the world and the way for what was next on the next big day.
Wd all have a place and a role in time, and we must be prepared to fill that role. In that reality, we find hope and purpose
In the Musical, “Annie,” a little orphan girl finds hope as she sings, “Tomorrow”
No matter how dismal and hopeless things may seem, there is a next day. There is a tomorrow.
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away : a little the sin of the world.” – John 1:29
Be Prepared to Move On (for What Is Next in Your Life.)
There is always a next day.
It will be a day of opportunity.
It will be a day of hope.
Whatever has gone before has brought us to this day. Whatever happens today will take us to tomorrow. Each day is built upon the day before. Each day lays the foundation for the next day.
John's ministry has progressed to a point where he is ready to point to his successor. On this day, John sees Jesus coming to him. John points to Jesus. John looks to Jesus. John says of Jesus. Behold the Lamb of God.
John had a great ministry, but there are new things in store for him and for his disciples.
Jesus’ ministry would surge.
Some of John’s disciples would hear Jesus call them. Saying “Follow me.”
John faced imprisonment and beheading.
But all would experience ultimate hope and purpose.
They were prepared to fill their roles today and follow Jesus today and tomorrow.
When Jesus comes, it is a new day for the whole world.
Be Prepared to Pass the Torch.
“Behold the Lamb of God which take us away the sin of the world.”
All leaders, prophets, servants, of God, indeed, all people, must be prepared to pass their torch to the next generation.
When I was about to turn 50, almost a generation ago, I sought God’s direction for a purpose statement for the rest of my life.
What emerged was the conviction that I was to invest in the next generation of leaders.
John’s entire ministry was about preparing to give his ministry away, to pass the torch.
Look at this lamb John says. He is the Lamb of God. He is of God's own making. He is greater than I am. He is my successor. He is the one I came to announce. He is the one for whom I am unworthy to be a shoe tire.
This is Jesus.
Jesus takes away sin. He takes it away. He is like the scapegoat. The sin is placed on him. And he wanders out into the wilderness. Carrying our sin.
Look at him.
Gaze upon him.
John saw him and told us to look at him. Do not miss him. Do not ignore him. Do not take him for granted. Do not reject him. He is here for you.
These are among the grandest and loveliest words ever spoken. They have been set to music. They have been the core material of great poetry. They come from the heart. They speak to the heart.
It was the next day.
What days have brought you to this day of beholding? What moments have led you to this moment? What realizations have laid the building blocks for this grand realization of the Lamb of God?
This is your next day.
What will tomorrow bring?
Be Prepared to “Bear Witness,” - “to Testify.”
“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. … And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God … And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! “John 1:32, 34, 36
Recently, we have been telling Christmas story. Now we meditate upon John’s testimony to the significance of this Jesus who was born as the Incarnate Word of God. The Spirit descends, the record is borne, and the Lamb of God is revealed.
It is a transitional moment of transformational power. The formative years of Jesus’ life are complete and the babe we left in the manger is now a man who knows who He is and what his mission is on earth is to be. It is the conclusion of the Christmas story and the beginning of a ministry that will culminate in His passion.
Jesus comes to John to be baptized and His baptism is a celebration of new life and new possibilities.
He stands with sinners though He has never sinned. He enters into the symbol of repentance for the sins that we have committed. He identifies intimately with humanity and in that act of identification, God sends forth His own Spirit to visibly and dramatically identify with Him.
It is a new day. In much the same way that we mark a new year with noise and celebration, God marks the ministry of Christ with John’s declaration, “This is the Son of God,” followed by “Look everyone! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World!”
The old is passing away. The new has come. From now on baptism will mean something entirely different and no one will need to be imprisoned in their despair of sin.
The Jewish New Year, for centuries, had been celebrated at the same season as the Day of Atonement John came preaching repentance and atonement.
But this was no ordinary new year that he was testifying about.
With the coming of Jesus, came a whole new world.
This was no mere new year.
This announcement was about a new life!
That is the testimony that we can give.
Be prepared. God will use you today, tomorrow, and the next day to share your testimony about Jesus.
When he calls you to follow, say, “Yes.”
This message and the service, Saturday, January 15, at Valley Springs Church