March 1, 2015
International Bible Lessons Commentary
New Revised Standard Version
L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, March 1, 2015, is from John 1:29-34. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Study Hints for Discussion and Thinking Further (available in the left-hand columm of this page) discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion. You may want to read to your class the International Bible Lesson (available below this commentary). Easy-print Bible Lesson Commentaries, Crossword Puzzles, Word Search Puzzles, True and False Tests, and Bible Lessons for review are also (in the left-hand side of this page). You may also find the International Bible Lesson Forum helpful. If you find this new page format helpful or have other suggestions, please send me an e-mail with your comments.
International Bible Lesson Commentary
(John 1:29) The next day John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John the Baptist testified that Jesus would fulfill a difficult task that would lead Him to die a sacrificial death as the Lamb of God. None of Jesus’ or John’s disciples knew what John meant when the Holy Spirit inspired John’s words. They would learn how Jesus would take away the sin of the world after Jesus died a sacrificial death as a substitute for sinners so God could be both merciful and just when forgiving sinners out of His heart of love.
(John 1:30) This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’
Jesus was before John because Jesus was in the beginning God and Jesus was with God the Father in the beginning before Jesus was born (see John 1:1-5). John the Baptist was conceived in Elizabeth and born before Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus ranked ahead of John as God and King of kings, the long promised Messiah. Though born after John, and though His public ministry began after John, John came to point people to Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy. John came to prepare a way for the Lord.
(John 1:31) I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
John did not know Jesus was the Messiah and the Lamb of God until the Holy Spirit revealed Jesus to him, though he no doubt knew the story of Mary’s visit to his mother Elizabeth before he was born. John preached a message of repentance and baptized with water to prepare people for Jesus’ coming and for Jesus’ revelation of himself as Messiah, Savior, and Lord. During John’s ministry of baptizing in the wilderness, Jesus came to be baptized and the Holy Spirit revealed to John a special aspect of Jesus’ ministry as the Lamb of God.
(John 1:32) And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
All four Gospels insist that John was an important forerunner of the Messiah. John was indwelt by the Holy Spirit from birth and the Holy Spirit empowered his ministry which led to multitudes of people going to hear him preach and being baptized at the Jordan River. John recognized the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus at His baptism, because he had always known the Holy Spirit as a divine Person living within him. One key thought that John emphasized was the fact that the Holy Spirit remained on Jesus and empowered His ministry. Though Jesus was the unique Son of God, He was also the Son of Man indwelt by the Holy Spirit for ministry.
(John 1:33) I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
God the Father and the Holy Spirit within John the Baptist told him how he would recognize the Messiah. God made John a promise, and then God did what He promised. The subsequent ministry of Jesus, His death and His resurrection, confirmed what John preached about Jesus. John’s preaching about Jesus inspired some of Jesus’ disciples to follow Him as the Messiah, and John’s ministry began to decrease as Jesus’ ministry began to increase, finally leading to John’s arrest and beheading by King Herod. After Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus baptized believers with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and that also confirmed what John saw and said about Jesus.
(John 1:34) And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
To testify to something in a court of law as a witness, you must either be an eyewitness or an ear witness to the event or situation. John heard the word of the Lord. John knew the work of the Holy Spirit by experience. John saw Jesus and John saw God fulfill what He promised. As in any court of law with witnesses giving testimony, a verdict usually follows. Believers in Jesus Christ believe in Jesus because of many eyewitness reports in the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives confirming the Word of God. The Word of God, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit teach that Jesus is the Son of God, Messiah, Lord, and Savior.
Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further
1. If someone asked you what Lamb of God meant, what might you say?
2. What did John say the Lamb of God would do?
3. How did John the Baptist know that Jesus was the Lamb of God?
4. In addition to Jesus being the Lamb of God, who else did John say Jesus is?
5. What are some of the ways Jesus, who is the Son of God and the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world?
Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson below.
How God Takes Away Sin
International Bible Lesson
Sunday, March 1, 2015
L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29—KJV).
“The next day John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29—NRSV).
When we hear about a criminal and his crimes, we usually feel that they should be punished to stop them, to protect others from them, and to encourage others not to do the same. Executing just punishments shows what a government or a society thinks about a law’s importance and obedience to the law as a whole. When a criminal does not receive the punishment that a law specifies or that we think they deserve for an especially horrid crime, we can become outraged at the injustice. When someone of the privileged class ignores or violates the law and escapes the punishment that the law demands, we are sometimes offended by the injustice; we also lose respect for the law and the government. We know we would be punished if we broke the same law. We expect lawbreakers, especially persistent lawbreakers, to be punished in some way. As the Great King, God must deal justly with situations such as these; however, all of us have broken God’s law of love as written on our hearts and on Moses’ stone tablets. Even worse, we have been persistent breakers of God’s law of love: we have not loved God and others as we ought. We all deserve God’s punishment forever. For God to emphasize obedience to His law, for God to uphold justice and show mercy when forgiving sinners, the Son of God took upon himself the punishment we deserve. By His death, Jesus won the love of repentant believers, and He takes away the sin of the world one transformed sinner at a time. – L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
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