In this series, we’re asking what it means to find our identity in being loved by Jesus. But before we can know His love we must first know Him. Last week we focused on who Jesus is; this week we focus on why Jesus came.
The passage (John 1:19-34) highlights the person and ministry of John the Baptist, who proclaims about Jesus, “This is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit!” The contrast between John and Jesus in this portion of Scripture is clear: John’s baptism is just washing you on the outside, while Jesus will wash you on the inside; John is calling you to turn from self-righteous religion to God, while Jesus calls you from spiritual deadness into eternal life; John urges you to keep the Old Covenant, while Jesus ushers you into the New Covenant. In the story we see this dawning of the New Covenant beautifully portrayed as the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus during His baptism by John. What we were unable to do under the Old Covenant, the Spirit now makes possible under the New Covenant.
But how will this deep heart-transforming change take place? How do we enter into this Spirit, into this New Covenant? The New Covenant is realized because Jesus is God’s own Passover Lamb. We are delivered from death because of the blood of a sacrificial Lamb. We are alive because of the blood of the Lamb, who died in our place and for our sake.
How does Jesus take away the sin of the world? He doesn’t remove sinners, He removes the sin. In so doing He gives us a new heart and a new Spirit. He accomplishes our redemption by laying His life down for us on the cross, substituting His life in exchange for ours.
Takeaway: Jesus alone can do the deep, inner transforming work we most desperately long for.