St. John the Baptist proclaims Jesus to be the Lamb of God and the Son of God. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Prudence so he can diligently study and receive wisdom from the prophets of God and by seeking the Gift of Wisdom from the Holy Spirit so he can always reverently prepare himself to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Following his mysterious proclamation of the coming One “who’s sandal” he is not worthy to untie, John the Baptist reveals the sacrificial mission of Jesus in a profoundly unexpected way; John calls Jesus Christ the “Lamb of God.” That an adult man, let alone the Savior of Mankind, the Messiah, might be compared to a lowly and weak baby sheep, is unprecedented, and initially, strange, indeed.
Seeing Jesus, John exclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Thirteen hundred years earlier, God forced the stubborn Pharaoh of Egypt to release Israel from bondage and slavery by a horrifying Passover in which all firstborn males (humans and animals) died; Israel’s first-born males were protected by ritually killing a male lamb, wiping its blood on their doorways, and feasting on the lamb’s meat. By calling Jesus the “Lamb of God”, John reveals the sacrificial and saving death Jesus would endure and hints at the transformation of the Passover into Easter.
John affirms his own mission to announce Jesus and the new Passover to Israel. John has witnessed not only Jesus’ Divinity (John first encountered Jesus when they were both still in the womb), but also a physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit. While older, John mysteriously acknowledges that Jesus came before him, a reference to Jesus’ eternal life. After giving the cryptic prophecy that Jesus is the “Lamb of God”, John bluntly states the astonishing truth that Jesus Christ is the “Son of God” who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be stunned at the mystery of Jesus, the Son of God: with Divine Knowledge and Power, Jesus establishes the Passover ritual which included the sacrificial ritual of a lamb to deliver Israel from Egypt (CCC 1096), with the full knowledge and plan that He will later become the Lamb of God; Son of Man, 1300 years later, Jesus takes on Human Flesh in the Incarnation and inspires John the Baptist to recognize Him as the Lamb of God; Divine Priest and the perfection of Sacrifice, Jesus sacrifices Himself on the Cross as the Lamb of God, establishing the Sacrament of the Eucharist through which He will offer the faithful His precious Body and Blood.
Receive wisdom from the Prophets
Realize: Like John the Baptist, biblical prophets were men (only a few were women) who were chosen by God, given supernatural insight to speak for God on earth, and were often martyred (Isaiah was sawn in half, Jeremiah was stoned); Jesus condemns the murder of the prophets (Mt 23:37).
Believe: Renew your understanding of the importance of the Prophets (CCC 64, 120, 522, 2581).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Prophet, help me build the Virtue of Prudence so I can use my reason to study, be inspired, and be guided by the mysterious words of the great prophets of the Old Testament.
Reverently prepare to receive the Eucharist
Realize: John the Baptist’s revelation that Jesus is the “Lamb of God” must have sounded insane to Jews: a lamb is a small sheep and Jesus was a grown man; starting with the first Passover, for 1300 years, lambs were ritually slaughtered and eaten (Ex 12) but eating human flesh was forbidden by the Law.
Believe: Reflect upon the powerful and mysterious revelation that Jesus is the Lamb of God (CCC 523, 536, 602, 608, 613, 757, 1137, 1329, 1602, 1612, 2642).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Wisdom so I can better grasp the astounding mysteries of Your Eucharist and always reverently and sacramentally prepare to receive Your actual Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.