Once again in the season of Epiphany we have a passage with an emphasis on "seeing". As the Gospel of John tells the story, John the Baptist says ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him". John's own eyes tell him who Jesus is, and what Jesus will do.
Sometimes all we need to convince us of something is seeing it for ourselves. Of course, it helps to have some idea about what we are seeing--and since John is already in the process of setting the stage for the One who is to come after him, he is particularly attentive to whatever might show who that is--as he says, "I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God."
. So it can help to be receptive to what we might see, to be looking for what God is going to do and what God is going to reveal to us. John is ready to see what God is up to. Then he is ready to "testify" to it.
This can be a challenge for us as we get into our routines, and as we get complacent about God really doing anything. As that great theologian Ferris Bueller reminds us, "I've said it before and I'll say it again. Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it". We need to look around once in awhile, and if we can be attentive to the subtle ways God is at work, they won't seem all that subtle after awhile. And to continue the analogy, if you remember the 1986 movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", you remember that Ferris is the kind of guy that inspires a loyal following--his influence is felt. John doesn't hesitate to take ownership of what God has shown him, and to talk about it. Because it wasn’t just about him.
Our task should be clear—so let’s be prepared to see it.
GOSPEL John 1:29-42
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ 32 And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’
35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ 39 He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).