MARCH 30, 2017 – BELIEVING: DIRECTING THE HEART’S ATTENTION TO JESUS

And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

JOHN 1:36

The Hebrew epistle instructs us to run life’s race “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,” for faith is not a once-done act, but a continuous gaze of the heart at the Triune God!

Believing, actually, is directing the heart’s attention to Jesus. It is lifting the mind to “behold the Lamb of God,” and never ceasing that beholding for the rest of our lives. Distractions may hinder, but once the heart is committed to Him, after each brief excursion away from Him the attention will return again and rest upon Him like a wandering bird coming back to its window.

I would emphasize this one committal, this one great volitional act which establishes the heart’s intention to gaze forever upon Jesus. God takes this intention for our choice and makes what allowances He must for the thousand distractions which beset us in this evil world.

Faith is a redirecting of our sight, a getting out of the focus of our own vision and getting God into focus.

When we lift our inward eyes to gaze upon God we are sure to meet friendly eyes gazing back at us, for it is written that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout all the earth. The sweet language of experience is, “Thou God seest me.” When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on earth![1]


Third Day, Third Group, Third Emphasis

Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. (1:35–37)

The phrase the next day continues the sequence of days discussed above in connection with verse 29. This is now the third day in the sequence, the second one after John’s encounter with the investigative delegation from Jerusalem. The third group is the smallest one, consisting only of two of John’s disciples (Andrew [v. 40], and John [who never names himself in his gospel]). John looked at Jesus as He walked nearby and repeated to his disciples what he had proclaimed to the crowds on the previous day, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” Having heard their teacher speak again those powerful words, the two disciples followed Jesus. John’s willingness to unhesitatingly hand them over to Him is further evidence of his self-effacing humility and complete acceptance of his subordinate role.

That the two disciples followed Jesus does not imply that they became His permanent disciples at this time. It is true that akoloutheō (followed) is used in John’s gospel to mean “to follow as a disciple” (e.g., 8:12; 10:27; 12:26; 21:19; cf. Matt. 4:20, 22; 9:9). But it can also be used in a general sense (e.g., 6:2; 11:31; 18:15; 20:6; 21:20). Andrew and John here received their first exposure to Jesus. Later, they became His permanent disciples (Matt. 4:18–22).

John’s third emphasis follows logically from his first two. Since the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, is here, the only proper response is to follow Him.

Having served his purpose as a witness to the true identity of Jesus, John the Baptist now faded from the scene (apart from a brief mention in 3:23ff.). The rest of the gospel focuses on the ministry of Jesus, something the Baptist himself would have approved of. As he said to some of his disciples who were jealous for his reputation,

A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, “I am not the Christ,” but, “I have been sent ahead of Him.” He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:27–30)

He did decrease and, while in prison wondering how that imprisonment fit with the anticipated glory of Messiah’s kingdom, was hit with doubts about Jesus being Messiah. The Lord graciously dispelled those doubts by reporting the record of His miracles (Matt. 11:2–5; Luke 7:19–22).[2]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 57–58). Chicago: Moody Press.

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