When she was much younger my daughter loved nothing more than to make a lot of noise in the car. Of course there were also times when like any other child she would sleep blissfully as we made our journey. But often if she was not happy for one reason or another she would burst into those fits of toddler tears. No one likes to hear their child cry, and in a car where the decibels are somewhat contained the crying can definitely bring you to your last nerve.
So my wife and I developed a coping strategy which was both fun and seemed to deal with the issue at hand. When my daughter would break into her loud wails of dissatisfaction one of us would look out of the window, point at absolutely nothing and say: “Look! Look at that rhinoceros!” Immediately my daughter would stop her screaming and look out the window for the rhinoceros, which, to our shame, was non-existent. The result of this parental deception was momentary peace.
In today’s passage, which covers the remainder of John 1, there is a lot of pointing going on between the characters of the story. John says that he has seen and now will testify that Jesus is “God’s Chosen One.” After he says this he then begins to point his disciples to the Chosen One. verse 36 says that when John saw Jesus passing by he pointed him out as the ‘Lamb of God.’ His disciples heard this and went with Jesus, spending the day with him. Andrew had been one of these that spent the day with the Chosen One. Afterwards the very first thing he did was to run to his brother Simon and tell him that he and his friends had found the Chosen one. After he had told Simon this he then brought him to meet Jesus. Andrew pointed Simon to Jesus. The next day, Philip met Jesus and then went to get Nathanael and said, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and about whom the prophets also wrote…” After Nathanael expressed some doubt, Philip simply responded by saying: “Come and see.”
The pattern is very clear in this passage: one person discovers Christ as the Chosen One of God and then points to Christ so that another person may discover Christ as the Chosen One of God.
John wastes no time as he begins his Jesus story. He wants his readers to know that while John the Baptist had an important part to play in it all, it is Jesus who is the center piece of everything that he is writing about.
When my wife and I used to point out the invisible exotic animals to our daughter we were doing it in the hope of obtaining a momentary peace in the confines of our car. The peace did not last and we would eventually be unable to think of more exotic non-existent animals to point to. It was a temporary fix.
When John the Baptist was pointing out Christ as the Chosen One of God he was doing it so that his own disciples might obtain an eternally lasting peace which would absolutely transform their lives and the lives of anyone else that they might point Christ out to.
The pattern is simple:
1. Someone points to Christ.
2. Christ is recognized as the Chosen one of God.
3. The one who has recognized Christ as the Chosen One begins to point others to Christ, inviting them also to see him as the Chosen one of God.
John’s gospel is written with the singular purpose of pointing readers like me and you to Christ – God’s own Son; the Messiah.
Perhaps as you read this passage today you will sense that it is point you to Christ? Unlike the invisible animals we pointed our daughters eyes to, Christ is actually there. Unlike the momentary peace that the invisible animals afforded us, Christ’s peace is lasting.
Perhaps as you are pointed to Christ today you will rediscover him, for yourself, as the Lamb of God. And then perhaps you will begin to point Christ out for others too.