Epiphany 2 - Series A
19 January 2020
1 Corinthians 1:1–9
God Reveals His Glory in Christ and His Cross
Almighty and everlasting God, who governs all things in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Your people and grant us Your peace through all our days; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
“The Lord, the Redeemer of Israel” calls forth “his Holy One” (Isaiah 49:7), Jesus, the Christ, “from the womb” of His mother (Isaiah 49:1). The incarnate Son of God is revealed as the Savior, not only for Israel but also “as a light for the nations” whose salvation reaches “to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).
John came “baptizing with water” (John 1:31) to reveal Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) and who glorifies His God and Father by His atoning sacrifice upon the cross. When Jesus was baptized in the waters of the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended “from heaven like a dove” and “remained on him” (John 1:32). By our Baptism, we are anointed by the same Spirit, adopted by God the Father and “called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:9). Therefore, we “are not lacking in any gift,” but we can trust Him who promises to sustain us to the end, “guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7–8).
Second Sunday after the Epiphany,
January 19, 2020
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege
The early church abbreviated a five-word creed by using the Greek word for “fish”. The English transliteration of this Greek word for fish is IXThUS. Each letter stood for a single word that confesses the identity and work of Jesus. Put into English: The “I” is the first letter of Jesus. The “X” is the first letter of Christ. The “Th” is the first letter of God’s. The “U” is the first letter of Son. And the “S” is the first letter of Savior. Thus the Greek word for “FISH” (IXThUS) was an acronym for Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior. This “FISH” acronym for the identity and work of Jesus we here call the “Fish Story”.
John the Baptist starts this Fish Story as he is the first to realize Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior. The Apostle John thus wrote, …all might believe through him (John 1:7). All believe through John the Baptist? Yes, he was the first to realize and share the Fish Story.
God had clearly predicted that the Christ would be uniquely endowed with the Holy Spirit. One example of such prophecy is found in Isaiah 61:1. Here the Christ (the “Anointed One”) says: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor….(61:1). Because the Holy Spirit is invisible, how could anyone identify the Christ to be endowed with the Spirit? God has a solution: The Holy Spirit would take the form of a dove! Thus John the Baptist attests: I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him (John 1:32). At that moment, literally visible to John the Baptist’s eyes, the long awaited Christ, who would be absolutely endowed with the Holy Spirit, is revealed. Merely confessing that Jesus is the Christ—the one who’s coming is at the very heart of the Old Testament—is in itself a confession that He is also the Son of God, the Savior.
Almost immediately after seeing Jesus to be the Christ, John confesses the second part of the Fish Story: And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God (v 34). Now we have the confession from John the Baptist that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. This basic confession, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, echoes throughout the New Testament. Consider how in John 11 when Jesus asks Martha whether she believes Him to be the resurrection and the life, she answers, Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God (v 27). When Jesus is cross-examined before the Jewish Council they demand, If you are the Christ, tell us (Lu 22:67). Their next question is also part of the Fish Story: Are you the Son of God, then? (v 70). The Jewish leaders had been hearing that this Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. After Jesus rises from the grave the Apostle John explains the purpose for recording some of His miracles:…these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (20:31). As a final example, immediately after Saul’s conversion, Luke records in Acts 9:20: And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God’. Then, almost as if scripted, verse 22 relates: But Saul…confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. Saul (Paul) clearly considered it foundational that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
The Fish Story is the confession: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. So what about John the Baptist’s confession of Jesus as Savior? John identified this reality by introducing Jesus with the profound exclamation: Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (v 29). Is there any greater confession of the saving work of Jesus? Indeed every Christian believes and confesses the Fish Story introduced by John the Baptist, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior: IXThUS.
Behold the Lamb of God
Τῇ ἐπαύριον βλέπει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτόν, καὶ λέγει• Ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Behold right in front of you is the Christ, bearing removing the SIN of the world. Ongoing activity continues to bear the world's sin.
Which lamb? The chief lamb, the Passover lamb. All other lambs sacrificed pointed to the Passover lamb which pointed to Christ. See OT lesson. V. 5-6This is Israel with cosmic consequences.
What comes before is John's clear confession that he is not the Christ.
οὗτός ἐστιν [a]ὑπὲρ οὗ ἐγὼ εἶπον• Ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεται ἀνὴρ ὃς ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν•
This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.'
Hearkens back to the prologue Jesus was conceived and born after John...this is both temporal and theological.
κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλ’ ἵνα φανερωθῇ τῷ Ἰσραὴλ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον ἐγὼ [b]ἐν ὕδατι βαπτίζων.
I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel."
I did not know him means...what? Parallel with the question, "are you the Christ? No I am not..." See Vs. 33, of myself I would not know him.
καὶ ἐμαρτύρησεν Ἰωάννης λέγων ὅτι Τεθέαμαι τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον [c]ὡς περιστερὰν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ ἔμεινεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν•
And John bore witness: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
The other baptism accounts do not have the spirit remaining. The Father's word to John is the only way we know this is the Spirit, not the narrator.
κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλ’ ὁ πέμψας με βαπτίζειν ἐν ὕδατι ἐκεῖνός μοι εἶπεν• Ἐφ’ ὃν ἂν ἴδῃς τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον καὶ μένον ἐπ’ αὐτόν, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ βαπτίζων ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ•
I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
κἀγὼ ἑώρακα, καὶ μεμαρτύρηκα ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁἐκλεκτὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.
And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."
Jesus calls the first disciples -
Τῇ ἐπαύριον πάλιν εἱστήκει ὁ Ἰωάννης καὶ ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ δύο,
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples,
καὶ ἐμβλέψας τῷ Ἰησοῦ περιπατοῦντι λέγει• Ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.
and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"
καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ δύο μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος καὶ ἠκολούθησαν τῷ Ἰησοῦ.
The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
στραφεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ θεασάμενος αὐτοὺς ἀκολουθοῦντας λέγει αὐτοῖς• Τί ζητεῖτε; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ• Ῥαββί (ὃ λέγεται μεθερμηνευόμενον Διδάσκαλε), ποῦ μένεις;
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?"
λέγει αὐτοῖς• Ἔρχεσθε καὶ [h]ὄψεσθε. ἦλθαν οὖν καὶ εἶδαν ποῦ μένει, καὶ παρ’ αὐτῷ ἔμειναν τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην• ὥρα ἦν ὡς δεκάτη.
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.
ἦν Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς Σίμωνος Πέτρου εἷς ἐκ τῶν δύο τῶν ἀκουσάντων παρὰ Ἰωάννου καὶ ἀκολουθησάντων αὐτῷ•
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
εὑρίσκει οὗτος πρῶτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τὸν ἴδιον Σίμωνα καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ• Εὑρήκαμεν τὸν Μεσσίαν (ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον χριστός).
He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).
ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν. ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν• Σὺ εἶ Σίμων ὁ υἱὸς [k]Ἰωάννου, σὺ κληθήσῃ Κηφᾶς (ὃ ἑρμηνεύεται Πέτρος).
He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
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