Father Callan’s Commentary on John 1:29-34
Posted by Dim Bulb on January 1, 2012
29. The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world.
The next day John saw Jesus; i.e., the day following the one on which he had given the preceding testimony. We do not know for certain whence our Lord was coming, but it is most probable that He was coming from the desert after His forty days’ fast.
Behold the Lamb of God. Our Lord was spoken of as the lamb of God most probably because He was to be offered for the sins of men. To point Him out as the Lamb of God was equivalent to designating Him as the Messiah, because Isaiah 53:7-12 had compared the Messiah to a lamb that should bear the sins of men.
Who taketh away the sin, etc.; i.e., who will wipe away completely the sins, not only of the Jews or of one nation, but of all men.
30. This is he, of whom I said : After me there cometh a man, who is preferred before me: because he was before me.
In this verse there is reference most probably to the testimony recorded in verse 15.
31. And I knew him not, but that he may be made manifest in Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
And I knew him not; i.e., publicly or officially; or even personally, perhaps. St. John had been brought up in the hill country of Judea, whereas our Lord had grown to manhood in Nazareth of Galilee, hence it is not probable that the two were personally acquainted before they had grown to manhood.
32. And John gave testimony, saying : I saw the Spirit coming down, as a dove from heaven, and he remained upon him.
And John gave testimony, saying. These are the words of the Evangelist interrupting the narrative of the Baptist.
I saw the Spirit coming down, etc., which was at our Lord’s baptism. See on Matthew 3:16-17.
33. And I knew him not; but he who sent me to baptize with water, said to me: He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon him, he it is that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
But he who sent me . . . said to me, etc. Here the Baptist makes known that the sign he had perceived at our Lord’s baptism had previously been revealed to him as one that would designate the Messiah, and so confirm his faith in the Messiah.
That baptizeth with the Holy Ghost; i.e., that takes away the sins of men by the graces of the Holy Ghost.
34. And I saw, and I gave testimony, that this is the Son of God.
And I gave testimony that this, etc. It does not appear from the Gospel just when the Baptist uttered this testimony that our Lord was “the Son of God,” except, indeed, in so far as it was implied in speaking of our Lord’s superior character, exalted dignity, of His taking away the sins of the world, etc.; but that he did recognize the Messiah as God is certain.