New American Bible (Revised Edition)
John the Baptist’s Testimony to Jesus. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God,[a] who takes away the sin of the world.(A) 30 [b]He is the one of whom I said,(B) ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ 31 I did not know him,[c] but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” 32 John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove[d] from the sky and remain upon him. 33 I did not know him,(C) but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’(D) 34 [e](E)Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
The First Disciples.(F) 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”[f] 37 The two disciples[g] heard what he said and followed Jesus.Read full chapter
- 1:29 The Lamb of God: the background for this title may be the victorious apocalyptic lamb who would destroy evil in the world (Rev 5–7; 17:14); the paschal lamb, whose blood saved Israel (Ex 12); and/or the suffering servant led like a lamb to the slaughter as a sin-offering (Is 53:7, 10).
- 1:30 He existed before me: possibly as Elijah (to come, Jn 1:27); for the evangelist and his audience, Jesus’ preexistence would be implied (see note on Jn 1:1).
- 1:31 I did not know him: this gospel shows no knowledge of the tradition (Lk 1) about the kinship of Jesus and John the Baptist. The reason why I came baptizing with water: in this gospel, John’s baptism is not connected with forgiveness of sins; its purpose is revelatory, that Jesus may be made known to Israel.
- 1:32 Like a dove: a symbol of the new creation (Gn 8:8) or the community of Israel (Hos 11:11). Remain: the first use of a favorite verb in John, emphasizing the permanency of the relationship between Father and Son (as here) and between the Son and the Christian. Jesus is the permanent bearer of the Spirit.
- 1:34 The Son of God: this reading is supported by good Greek manuscripts, including the Chester Beatty and Bodmer Papyri and the Vatican Codex, but is suspect because it harmonizes this passage with the synoptic version: “This is my beloved Son” (Mt 3:17; Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22). The poorly attested alternate reading, “God’s chosen One,” is probably a reference to the Servant of Yahweh (Is 42:1).
- 1:36 John the Baptist’s testimony makes his disciples’ following of Jesus plausible.
- 1:37 The two disciples: Andrew (Jn 1:40) and, traditionally, John, son of Zebedee (see note on Jn 13:23).