This text contains several names for Jesus of Nazareth.
The Baptist calls Jesus the “Lamb of God.” In this phrase the word of carries the meaning provided by. The image comes from the fourth Servant Song (Isaiah 53:7ff) and/or from Exodus 12's description of the Passover lamb in Egypt. Unlike all cultic lambs before him, Jesus actually takes away our sins. . . .
Andrew and another disciple move from John to Jesus, whom they address as “Rabbi.” But after listening to him, they decide Jesus is the Messiah. Andrew announces the good news to his brother Peter.
No attempt should be made to reconcile this account with that of the Synoptics in which Peter, Andrew, James and John follow Jesus without any introduction. The focus here is on the Baptist's ministry of witness. – Joseph McHugh
In addition to the names Lamb of God, Rabbi, and Messiah, biblical witness also has brought us to assign the name Suffering Servant to the Christ, linking his life, death, and resurrection with the one described by the Prophet Isaiah.
The Servant, representative of the remnant of faithful Israel, speaks to us today. His commission was to renew God's people, “to bring back Jacob to him” (v 5). The remnant (“survivors” in v 6) will experience freedom, but also embrace the obligation of bringing the message of the love of the true God to all the nations. . . .
This is also the mission of the church. We should not be surprised that many will reject the message of salvation. Our society also has its false gods of power and money. Many will not respond warmly to the Gospel message. Nonetheless, we, as servants of the Lord, must proclaim his message, else how will salvation reach “to the ends of the earth?” – Joseph McHugh
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Whether you call it evangelization, witnessing, or testifying, today's readings speak about proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to others. . . . The invitation is simple: “Come and see!”
John the Baptizer said, “'I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.' The next day… he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ ” (1:34, 36). John saw the Spirit descend on his relative Jesus when he was baptized. John heard God's voice thundering from heaven calling Jesus God's Beloved Son. John saw and heard, and then he spoke. That is what witnesses do. In a courtroom, witnesses are not called to convince the jury of anything. That is the lawyers' job. Witnesses are not called to condemn or pardon people. That is the judge's job. Witnesses are simply called to tell people what they saw and heard.
Like John the Baptizer and any other witness, we are called to tell people what we have seen and heard. . . . We have seen the Spirit's work in our own lives and have heard God's word to us. This started at our own baptism. While many of us cannot remember that event, we can speak about how the Spirit has led us from our infancy and how God's word has touched our lives, comforting and challenging us along our own personal spiritual journey. . . . All we need to do is speak about these things to others, just as John told others what he saw and heard. – John Paul Salay
Joseph McHugh is a freelance writer who writes on scripture and other religious topics.
John Paul Salay is Loyola University’s Minister of Liturgy and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
Homily Service 41, no. 1 (2007): 111-120.