John The Baptist: There Is The Lamb of God!

Today’s Gospel introduces us to the vocation of the first disciples, Andrew, Peter and John, the Gospel writer.

These men came from Galilee but followed John the Baptist, and it is the Baptist who pointed out Jesus to them as the ‘Lamb of God’.

Let’s say a word about this title of Christ: ‘Lamb of God’.

Every day at Mass, we acknowledge Jesus as ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’. Where does this title come from? We may confidently say that John the Baptist used this term in the context of Isaiah’s prophecy of the ‘Servant of God’ who bears the iniquity of many, and thus saves them, as a sacrificial lamb. John was inspired to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, “he who is to come”, at the moment of his baptism. Very selflessly, he gave his own disciples over to the One who would take precedence over him.

The first two disciples to meet Jesus are Andrew and John, though John doesn’t name himself in the narrative. Another vocation narrative, from the Synoptic Gospels, indicates that their call took place by the lakeside in Galilee. John’s Gospel tells us that they had met Jesus even before, and had been so captivated by his conversation, that they spent half the day in his company without being aware of how the time just flew by.

The next day Andrew found his brother Peter and told him with conviction: “We have found the Messiah!”, and brought him to Jesus. Once again, Jesus “looked him in the face” and that gaze transformed Peter. “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Kephas” – the Aramaic form of ‘Peter’ — says Jesus. Jesus has already grasped the potential that Peter reveals, and has great plans for him.

These vocation stories reveal interesting details in the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. One, Jesus must have had a tremendously persuasive ability. His words could transform. Conversing with him did transform Andrew and John, so that they in turn brought others to Jesus. We see this in many other places in the Gospel. But even more than words, a mere look from Jesus could change a person’s heart. We see this in the calling of Peter, Matthew, Zachaeus and so many others. The disciples must have been fascinated by the personality of this unknown rabbi.

Little did they know how following him would turn their lives upside down.

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