John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” Maybe you are like me and grew up in church hearing this passage, about John baptizing Jesus, and proclaiming to those around him who Jesus was. Maybe this is new to you. Either way, recently I have been reading, studying, and meditating on the book of John. To be honest I’ve been stuck in John 1 for an extraordinarily long time. I will not even tell you how long I was parked on just the first verse of John 1, but that is a story for another day. Let’s just say homeschool mom of two girls equals beautiful insanity, and studying scripture looks different in various seasons of my life. I’ve learned to be okay with a slow crawl through the Word because I do not want to miss a thing. I have hurried through my quiet time and have tried speed studying and I have missed a lot. Anyway, I digress.
Now let us get back to John 1:29 and to be more specific the word “behold”. As I sat reading this verse, that word “behold” gripped me. It is a word that I cannot shake. “Behold”…what does that even mean? What does it mean to behold something or someone for that matter? Well, what else is there to do than to head straight to Webster’s dictionary. “Behold” as it is defined by Webster’s: sight to perceive through or apprehension; to gaze upon. Second, I headed to www.blueletterbible.com and typed in John 1:29 and found the vines expository dictionary of New Testament words (this is a great resource and really easy to use). “Behold”, used in imperative mood in John 1:29, is calling attention to what may be seen or heard or mentally apprehended in any way. Think of beholding a new baby, there is something about a precious new life that dares you to not look away for fear that you will miss something. To behold, to gaze upon, to ponder, to be captivated by, to remember, to be in awe, all of these, each and every one is something I do not do in regards to much in life. I live fast, distracted, and in pursuit of being engaged…no entertained. Slowing down, sitting, and beholding is very hard for me, but I hurt, grieve, and feel loss. I struggle with guilt and judgement. I struggle with emptiness and loneliness. I struggle with feeling like too much and not enough. However, do you hear it? John, gazing just over the heads of the crowd around him, he squints, blinded by the sun, and coming just on the horizon he sees. Johns gasps and with exhilaration declares “BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, who takes away the sins of the world”.
As I am reminded of what it is to behold, to sit in awe, captivated by him, and as I begin to fight my will and desire for easy and entertained, as I reach for the hem of his garment I find forgiveness, wholeness, and healing. My loss, loneliness, and struggle are redeemed. It is in him that I am reminded that he came for me and that I am his and that he is mine. All of him is mine. The Lamb of God is mine. That is something worth beholding.
“But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (ESV)