John the Baptist’s declaration in this verse is full of mystery to me. As the story in this Gospel goes, Jesus had not yet begun his ministry or healed anyone yet, and yet John is confident to declare in public that Jesus is taking away the sins of the world. If you’re a nerd like me, you’ll enjoy that the verb really should be “is taking.” In Greek, it’s a present participle in the active voice; a verb with present and ongoing consequences that we form in English with the '-ing' ending.
This is a comforting reminder that Jesus is taking away the sins and evils around us, and this holy work that Jesus does has present and ongoing consequences in our world. Even if it seems like a mystery too lofty to even imagine, we find hope in John’s confident declaration: Jesus is healing now and Jesus will grant forgiveness forever.
If you’re like me, it’s hard to grasp this mystery. Some days I place shame on myself and forget that I am forgiven and Jesus is taking away my sins. Some days I read the news and see pain in other faces on the street and it’s hard to believe that Jesus is taking away the evils of sin.
And yet, this chorus of the Messiah sounds like a revelation of God to me. The music and the voices sound to me like something divine finding my ears through the performance of Handel’s composition. So, today I will let this music wash over me and pray for God to reveal to me the salvation for which we all hope. May God reveal to us all the mysteries of Jesus’ love and forgiveness in our daily life.
Prayer: Oh Jesus, Lamb of God, take away the sins of the world today and forever. May hope spring up in the hearts of your followers because you are still bringing salvation. Teach me to join your work and take away some of the evil around me today. Remind me that you are taking away my own sins and that I am forgiven. Amen.