Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stay with the Baptist?

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, [36] and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" [37] The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. [38] Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, "What are you seeking?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" [39] He said to them, "Come and you will see." So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. [40] One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. [41] He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ). [42] He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter). (John 1:35-42 (ESV)
So John passes off two disciples. As we said yesterday, one of these must have been John the writer of the gospel. The Baptist once again declares that Jesus is the Lamb of God. So John and Andrew take the hint and follow him. Others stayed with the Baptist.
That one puzzles me. Why they stayed. Perhaps it was just friendship. But the Baptist came with the law preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah. He is adamant that Jesus is the Messiah, and yet many of his disciples stay with John. They even go so far as to criticize Jesus, and the Baptists has to correct them. It is almost as if they aren’t ready for the gospel. Capon says something to the effect that as much as we might dislike the law, we are more afraid of the gospel. I do wonder if this had something to do with his disciples staying.
I see it often myself. We can get quite comfortable with the law. It is written on our hearts. It seems to make sense. And we quiet its threats. It allows us to feel smug at times, and better than others. The gospel doesn’t allow this. It’s like Stockholm syndrome at the end of the day, we begin to love our captor. We depend on our abuser. The gospel, Jesus Christ is scary. So the Baptists, they stay with the Baptist, and a baptism they see as nothing but water. But Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit freeing from captivity to the law.

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