Hope for the world (John 1:29)

Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Prophets see things. When John the Baptizer saw Jesus approaching, he saw “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Did you see that? If I hear Scripture as a story about me, I may substitute a message that Jesus takes away my sins. That’s not what John said.

Imagine a world where sin has gone — where the Lamb has taken away the sin of the world. What’s it like? What do you see? Continue reading “Hope for the world (John 1:29)”

The leper and the king (Matthew 8:2-3)

When God gets his hands dirty.

Open Matthew 8:2-3.

A leper was unusual company for a king. The skin disease was bad enough, but a leper was a defiled person, excluded from the community. Even kings feared the disease that could drive them from their family home and from God’s house (2 Chronicles 26:19-21).

But this leper heard that Jesus announced good news for the people who’d missed out. He knew what it was to be driven out of the community, and he wanted in. He didn’t just want to be healed of his medical problem; he wanted to be purified from the defilement that excluded him from the community.

The trouble was that anything the leper touched became unclean. He was expected to tell everyone that he was a defiler, that if they touched him they would also be unclean. Continue reading “The leper and the king (Matthew 8:2-3)”